Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund


Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund

The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Norwegian: Statens lånekasse for utdanning) is a government agency that provides loans and grants to Norwegian and certain foreign students for their education. This system is aimed at making higher education available to everyone, regardless of their place of residence within Norway, their age, sex or economic and social status.

Contents

Objectives

The objective of the educational support from Lånekassen is

  • to remove inequality and to promote equal opportunities so that the pursuit of education is possible regardless of geographical conditions, age, sex and economical and social positions
  • to ensure that the work environment for students is satisfactory so that the students may work effectively
  • to ensure a steady supply of educated labour

Amounts

As of 2010, students receive a combined grant and loan which amounts to NOK 89,000 per year, paid out over 10 months[1]. Upon completion of the academic year, up to 40% of the loan amount may be converted to a grant provided that certain conditions are met, i.e., that the student: passes all exams on schedule; has an annual income below NOK 145,400; and has a net worth less than NOK 287,643.[2]. Since the seventies, this is only based on the student's own financial status and is not affected by their parents' income or net worth.

Students receive no payments in June or July due to the summer holiday when regular classes are usually not in session. Student organizations have campaigned for, and most political parties have expressed a wish for, introducing payments in June as well. However, the total cost of this expansion is estimated at NOK 482 million per year, and this cost has not been prioritized in the annual budgets.[3]

All Norwegian public universities and colleges are free, but students attending private institutions may apply for an additional loan of up to NOK 50,000 in order to finance tuition. Such loans may not be converted to grants.

In addition to this, students receive financial support for tuition fees also while studying abroad. The percentage of this that is given as a grant is 50 % at an undergraduate level and 70 % at a graduate level. Based on where in the world they live, they will also receive a travel grant which usually is enough to pay for one return ticket to go home per semester.

The interest of the loans are relatively low compared to other forms of debts. In August 2011 the interest rate was 3.26 %. However, as long as the student is registered as a full time student, the loans are free of interest. The interest only starts generating after the student has graduated.

History

  • Lånekassen was established in 1947, in the continuation of a series of welfare bills for students in higher education
  • In the first year, a total of NOK 3,3 million was allocated to ca. 2200 students
  • In the late 1950s, support was extended to pupils in upper secondary education
  • Means testing of the parents’ economy was disbanded in the early 1970s
  • The 1980s saw a comprehensive decentralization of Lånekassen's organization and the growing importance of regional offices
  • The system of grants and loans was further developed and differentiated in the 1980s and 1990s
  • Computer systems for mass-processing of applications were installed in the 1980s and 1990s

Activities and key figures

  • Lånekassen has about 820,000 customers in total in 2007-2008
  • NOK 17.1 billions was allocated to about 289,600 customers in 2007-2008
  • NOK 3,0 billions was allocated as grants and NOK 14 billions was given as loans
  • There are about 530,000 customers currently repaying their loans in 2008
  • NOK 9,4 billions was repaid
  • The outstanding debt is about NOK 101,5 billions in 2008
  • Lånekassen assessed 678,000 applications for educational support and for payment deferrals

Organization

  • Head office is in Oslo
  • Lånekassen has offices in Tromsø, Trondheim, Ørsta, Bergen and Stavanger
  • Lånekassen spent around 316 man-labour years. About 210 of these were at the head office and 106 at the regional offices outside Oslo
  • The running expenses for 2008 amounted to NOK 262,4 million
  • 66 percent of the staff have higher education
  • 63 percent of the staff are women




External links


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