A new change to the regulations surrounding student loans could make it difficult for Icelanders living abroad to study.
Traditionally, the Icelandic Student Loan Fund (LÍN) has been there for Icelanders who have wanted to study abroad, providing them with loans so they can study and live in other countries. But now the purse strings seem to be tightening.
Progressive MP Eygló Harðardóttir recounted the story of an Icelandic girl who had been living and working in Norway for the past two years. After being accepted into her dream school at last, she consulted LÍN about a student loan.
To her surprise and disappointment, she was informed that the regulations on student loans had changed: LÍN now reserves the right to deny student loans to Icelanders who have lived abroad for 12 months or more.
By contrast, Minister of Education Svandís Svavarsdóttir told the Grapevine in our current issue:
Some fields of education are still not offered in Iceland, and in addition some students prefer to study in another country. Studying and living abroad is a cultural issue, and it is something that we consider an asset, that young people go abroad, and gain a wider outlook on life. Most students have, up until now at least, decided to return back to Iceland, and this fact enriches the work force. The fact that young people will train and study in another country, in many different universities, both in Europe and the U.S., and be immersed in another culture is a positive thing.
Eygló believes the current regulation is unfair and she, along with conservative MP Ragnheiður Ríkharðsdóttir, have called for a meeting with the education minister over the matter.