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<strong>Reform of student grants.&nbsp;<br />How will it affect you?&nbsp</strong>

<strong>While you were on your summer holiday, the Danish Folketing adopted a controversial reform of the student grant system.<br />Here’s a general overview of the changes affecting university students.</strong>

With the exception of the Red-Green Alliance, all the parties in the Danish Folketing voted in favour of reforming the student grant system. So the reform is now law. But the necessary ministerial orders have not yet been issued, so nobody yet knows exactly how the new rules will be administered. The reform contains ten new initiatives which change the rules governing when you are entitled to a student grant in Denmark. There are also a number of changes designed to fast-track you through the education system.

Here’s a general overview of the changes affecting university students – including students starting this year. At you will find a guide to the entire reform.

New initiative Will it affect you? How will it affect you? When Student Council’s evaluation:
Less support for students who live with their parents Maybe. Only if you drop out and are still living with your parents when you start a new degree programme next year. Students living with their parents get a basic grant of DKK 893 plus a bonus of up to DKK 1,586 (a maximum of DKK 2,479). The current rate is DKK 2,860. Applies from 1 July 2014.


The grant is still allocated by age, but should be allocated based on what people are doing. Students on youth training schemes don’t need to buy as many books as university students, for instance.

Student grants will increase less than in the past Yes Like other social-security benefits, grants will not increase as fast as the retail price index, so you will have less spending power. Applies from 1 January 2014. This is the worst change of them all! In the long term it will reduce the spending power of students because their grants won’t keep pace with inflation and the prices of consumer products. It’s unfair to sneak cuts in like this, because students will find it hard to spot the financial consequences.
Increase in amount you can earn on the side Yes In 2014 you can earn DKK 1,500 more per month before any deductions are made in your grant. From 2015 this amount will increase to DKK 2,500 a month. Applies from 1 January 2014.

Neither good or bad

Very few students will actually benefit from this because very few students earn more than the amount you are allowed to earn. And it’s strange to encourage us to earn more on the side while telling us that working more than ten hours a week has a negative impact on our studies.

Bonus for fast-track students Perhaps. If you work hard and finish your degree programme after 1 January 2016. If you complete your degree programme in less than the prescribed time, you will be given half your remaining grant payments as a bonus. Applies from 1 January 2016.


I find it hard to imagine that a bonus of a few thousand kroner will motivate people more than the prospect of graduating and getting a full-time job and a salary of DKK 30,000 a month. Surely it’s better for people to focus on learning more rather than rushing through their degrees.

Easier to get cover for transport costs Yes. If public transport is not available. Applies from 1 January 2016.


This is good. Especially if you want to live outside the major cities – which you might have to do because cheap accommodation in the cities is like gold dust. It’s a shame that this won’t apply until 2016. It surely can’t be a very hard change to make.

Reformens øvrige initiativer til regulering af SU'en

Nyt initiativ Rammer det dig? Hvad går det ud på?
Hvornår Studenterrådets vurdering:

Only students starting a course of further education within two years of completing upper-secondary education can get 12 extra months of grant support after the prescribed duration of their course

No. Not if you are starting this year.

You lose the right to get a grant after the prescribed duration of your course.

Applies to young people starting their first course of further education after 1 July 2014.



We’re concerned that the rule might cause young people who take more than one gap year (because they’re uncertain about their choice of degree programme) to drop the idea of further education altogether. The rule might also have a skewed social impact affecting young people from non-academic homes who are already uncertain about studying at university because they’re afraid they won’t manage it.

Grant stops automatically if you fall behind in terms of ECTS credits

No. The rule only applies to students starting after 1 July 2016

If you are delayed and fall more than 30 ECTS credits behind, your grant stops automatically.

Applies to students starting after 1 July 2016.


Moving the limit from one year to six months could have serious consequences for people who fail a major subject (30 ECTS credits). But it might also affect students on six-month placements who can’t get 30 ECTS credits for their placement. We’re concerned that this might be a vicious circle because they will have to get a job to cover their expenses when their grant stops, which might cause them to fall even further behind.

Grants for supplementary courses, but only if they’re quick

No. the rule only applies to young people who require upper-secondary supplementary courses.

In future it will only be possible to get a grant for short courses lasting 3-6 weeks.

Applies to supplementary courses starting after 1 July 2014.


This won’t affect university students, but we think the rule is stupid and typical of Copenhagen because these quick courses only exist in the major cities.

No more than five youth education programmes with a grant

No. This only applies to young people on youth education programmes.

Applies to programmes starting after 1 January 2015.

Neither good or bad

Not relevant for students at university.

This is how the politicians are trying to make you fast-track your studies – thereby cutting the cost of student grants

New initiative

Student Council’s evaluation:

You will be registered automatically for exams corresponding to 60 ECTS credits. Withdrawal is only possible subject to exemption


We don’t yet know how this will work in practice. But it looks like a law that has been introduced to make life difficult for the few people who try to cheat the system. The problem is that it affects so many people. They are being pretty tough here. If you fail and have to re-sit an exam, this will be in addition to all the other exams – thereby increasing the pressure on you. There is no consideration for the individual student, and we’re concerned that this might cause some people to give up.

Change in the rules for credit transfer. If you have previously studied other degree programmes, the university will decide whether the subjects studied can replace one or more subjects on your new degree programme


We would like a more open approach to credit transfer, so we support this change in culture. But we think that credit transfer should still be granted based on an academic assessment like those made by the boards of studies.

No more supplementary courses between Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes, making it easier for people with a vocational Bachelor’s degree to gain admission to a Master’s degree programme without academic supplementary courses

Neither good or bad

It’s still unclear how this will be implemented.

Better opportunities for starting a degree programme in the winter


This seems like a good idea – nice for students to be able to start twice a year. But starting new subjects isn’t exactly free of charge, so we look forward to finding out where the money is going to come from.

The so-called “Bachelor’s fence” is to be removed so you can take 30 ECTS credits corresponding to six months of your Master’s degree programme even though you have not yet completed your Bachelor’s degree programme


This is a fantastic idea because finishing your Bachelor’s degree before starting your Master’s has delayed some people quite a lot.

Demands made on the universities to reduce the period of study


The time allowed to complete your degree programme has been reduced constantly in recent years – even though there’s no legal requirement for this. But the politicians are now introducing a legal requirement forcing the universities to reduce the period of study so they can take the credit for improving the statistics and fast-tracking students. Completely unfair.

Introduction of an exam prior to commencing your studies to show that you are an active student

Niether good or bad

We don’t know how it will be implemented, but that won’t make much difference. It might be a good idea to find out quickly whether you should be studying something else.

Allan Graversen Vesterlund’s comment on the reform:
“We’re sceptical.”

“Not many pluses but plenty of minuses. The reform won’t make much difference in terms of the overall goal of getting people through the education system faster. There are some big changes for the worse which will hit people pretty hard. More people risk losing their grant, which will mean that they have to earn more money on the side, thereby increasing the risk of delays in finishing their degrees. So if the politicians wanted to carry out a reform that would fast-track the students, they have not succeeded. This is just another way of making cuts.”

Lots of Danes are being affected by reforms. Isn’t it reasonable that students should be affected too? It’s true that you’re poor at the moment, but you’re getting an education free of charge and have the prospect of getting good jobs and salaries afterwards.

“Our generation is affected in a number of ways by all the reforms that the government has carried out. The reforms of social-security benefits, the unemployment insurance system and the early-retirement scheme don’t only affect the people who rely on these systems at the moment. They also affect all of us who may need these systems in the future. I don’t accept the argument that students should suffer just like everyone else. We’re going to be affected by all kinds of other cuts in future as well.”

Translated by Nicholas Wrigley