Finns studying abroad will again be entitled to a student discount at VR, the Finnish railway company. In the future, Finns studying abroad who receive student financial aid in Finland are eligible for the discount.
The conflict between the VR and students arose about a year ago when the VR abolished the discount of Finns studying abroad on a full-time basis. The company justified its decision by saying that the system treated different nationalities unequally and was therefore in violation of the founding treaty of the EU.
After the VR had announced the abolition of the student discount, Minister of Transport Anu Vehviläinen appealed to VR urging it to consult student organisations so that a model for restoring the discount could be found. Student organisations, the VR and the Ministry of Transport and Communications have now reached a solution.
“It’s a good thing that the matter was finally solved in a manner that satisfies both the VR and the students. The Finnish Government and a company wholly owned by government would send a wrong message if Finns studying abroad wouldn’t have any discounts in domestic passenger travel. After all, studying abroad is already expensive and long distances would have made trips home considerably more expensive,” explains Vehviläinen.
In the future, discounts for train tickets are only granted to students who have received a study decision as laid down in the Act on financial aid for students. Finnish citizens studying abroad are eligible for student financial aid in Finland if they are domiciled in Finland and the studies in a foreign country can be considered temporary. Student financial aid can also granted on the same conditions to citizens of the EU and EEA member countries and Switzerland permanently residing in Finland and their family members.
Kari Jääskeläinen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Transport, tel. +358 44 0581 030
Mikael Nyberg, Director of Transport System Unit, tel. +358 9 160 28474, +358 40 837 8794