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Exercising their rights: International students get SU grants

More international students are getting the generous Danish SU study grant, according to new figures. This is after an EU ruling forced the Danish government's hand in 2013

The number of international, employed students from the EU/EEA in Denmark who get the Danish SU study grant has increased by 1,400 in 2014, following a 2,000 increase in 2013. This is according to a memo with figures presented by the Minister of Education and Research in parliament.

Changes in 2013 meant that EU/EEA citizens who travelled to Denmark to study could claim a Danish SU study grant, if they at the same time had the status as migrant labour. This meant that students who did part-time work amounting to at least 10-12 hours a week had the same access to SU as Danes.

According to the document, which has been released on the Danish parliament’s website, “the number of migrant employees receiving SU has increased since the L.N.- [EU ruling on SU, ed.] ruling, but is within the SU reform’s estimate of approximately 5,500 full year grant recipients”.

Too early to evaluate SU paybacks

There were in December 2014 a total of 3,902 non-Danish EU/EEA recipients. Romania is the country which has the highest increase in SU recipients, followed by Hungary, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Germany and Poland.

The Danish government’s expenses in paying non-Danish recipients SU was DKK 219m in 2014, far below the DKK 390m estimate which was calculated at the time of the reform.

A total of 1,250 migrant SU recipients were demanded re-payment of some of the their SU grants. This, according to the memo, follows the Danish government’s stricter control systems. All recipients are digitally monitored each month as to their employee status and SU payments. According to the memo it is “too early to evaluate why students do not maintain their employee status, and whether this is due to lack of knowledge of the rules and controls, or whether it is an attempt to abuse the SU scheme.”

See the University Post article: Students caught up in SU grant policy mess.

Memo: International students contribute

The Danish government has an internationalisation policy, aiming to boost the number of Danes going abroad, and the number of internationals coming to Denmark.

According to the memo, Danish education institutions have not used the reform to increase the number of English-language study programmes.

The memo emphasises that “students who choose to take their education in Denmark contribute to Danish society, in that a relatively large share of them subsequently move into the Danish labour market.”

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