The student grant system should be cut and the money reinvested in pre-school education in order to better raise the educational level of children whose parents themselves don't have an academic education, says business lobby group Dansk Industri (DI).
DI is proposing that SU student grant periods should be reduced to five years, and that the money now spent on the sixth year should instead be used to fund reading and maths programmes for young children. This approach, the organisation argues, would better raise the academic level of children.
Speaking to Berlingske newspaper, DI spokesperson Charlotte Rønhof said the savings could also be used to improve the standard of university education.
“SU was imagined as a way to offer everyone, regardless of their background, an opportunity to get an education,” Rønhof said. “The argument for giving the sixth year of SU has been that it would lift the students that aren’t as academically minded because of their background. This turns out not to be the case.”
Rønhof added that a DI study showed that SU can do little more to improve social mobility as the majority of students receiving the grant have parents who themselves did not get an academic education.
“That’s why it would be better to use the money on children that are expected to do less well in school. In that way we can give ensure that all children are given the same pre-requisites for academic achievement.”
The government hopes this year to pass reforms that will save two billion kroner a year by encouraging students to complete their university education more quickly.
The education minister, Morten Østergaard (Radikale), has already ruled out cutting SU periods as an incentive to completing studies faster. But opposition party Venstre has said it supports only providing SU for the same number of years as it normally takes to complete an educational programme – so five years of SU for a five-year programme.