The National Union of University Students in Finland

The National Union of University Students in Finland was founded in 1921. Suomen ylioppilaskuntien liitto, SYL for short, is an organisation representing the interests of students and defending their educational, financial, and social benefits and rights. In addition, SYL has striven to take a role as a socially influential organisation on a wider scale and an inspirer of debate. The local student unions under the SYL umbrella currently have altogether 132 000 student members.

Today, SYL is the leading student organisation of Finland.

As SYL has widely recognised expertise on matters of higher education, the opinion of SYL is heard in various official organs dealing with education. SYL is asked to make statements in a great variety of matters ranging from general housing and social welfare to study financing and student health. SYL takes an active stand on all questions concerning students and education.

SYL is represented in diverse national bodies, involving those dealing with higher education policies, e.g. the Council for Higher Education and its sub-committees, and various committees and working groups of the Ministry of Education. SYL also arranges meetings and seminars, organises campaigns and publishes leaflets and publications.

SYL regularly organises meetings for its member student unions in the field of education politics, social politics and international affairs. There are also meetings about environmental issues, development co-operation, employment, equality or any other field of work important to SYL or its members.

The membership of a student union is compulsory for all students studying for a full degree in Finnish universities. SYL is the umbrella organisation of the local student unions and thus has no individual members. All students are members of SYL through their local student unions. Thus, all university level students (undergraduates) and some post-graduate students are represented by SYL.

Exchange and foreign degree students are entitled to join the student union if they study in Finland for more than 3 months, if the purpose of their study is reaching a basic university degree (BA or MA) and their studies in Finland are free of any tuition fees. All major student discounts and student health care are linked with the membership of a student union.

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SYL the National Union of University Students in Finland