Minister of Education Illugi Gunnarsson categorically rejected a proposal from Progressive MP Vigdís Hauksdóttir to place an additional charge on the student loans of those who do not move back to Iceland after studying abroad.
RÚV reports that the minister responded to a direct question from the MP on whether or not it would be possible to charge students studying abroad extra for what they already pay on their student loans, if they choose not to come back to Iceland at their studies’ conclusion.
Illugi dismissed the idea, and then ran down a list of reasons why.
First, the Student Loan Fund guarantees financial help to all students, regardless of economic status, therefore it makes no distinction between going to university in Iceland or studying abroad. Second, Iceland might not have job opportunities for everyone studying their chosen field, he said, specifically naming veterinarians and meteorologists in that context.
Lastly, Illugi disclosed that of the 16.3 billion ISK that the Student Loan Fund paid out in the 2011-12 school year, about 8 billion ISK came from the government – and of that, only 2.8 billion ISK went to studies abroad.
Last month, Vigdís suggested tacking an extra fee onto student loan payments for students who do not come back to Iceland after finishing their studies. “It is not unnatural that those who don’t come back home at the end of their studies have to pay some kind of charge,” she said at the time.