Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund
The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Norwegian: Statens lånekasse for utdanning) is a government agency that provides loans and grants to Norwegian and certain foreign students for their education. This system is aimed at making higher education available to everyone, regardless of their place of residence within Norway, their age, sex or economic and social status.
The objective of the educational support from Lånekassen is
- to remove inequality and to promote equal opportunities so that the pursuit of education is possible regardless of geographical conditions, age, sex and economical and social positions
- to ensure that the work environment for students is satisfactory so that the students may work effectively
- to ensure a steady supply of educated labour
As of 2013, students receive a combined grant and loan which amounts to NOK 94,400 per year, paid out over 10 months. Upon completion of the academic year, up to 40% of the loan amount may be converted to a grant provided that certain conditions are met, i.e., that the student: does not live together with his or her parents; passes all exams on schedule; has an annual income below NOK 151,216; and has a net worth less than NOK 344,021. Since the seventies, this is only based on the student's own financial status and is not affected by their parents' income or net worth.
Students receive no payments in June or July due to the summer holiday when regular classes are usually not in session. Student organizations have campaigned for, and most political parties have expressed a wish for, introducing payments in June as well. However, the total cost of this expansion is estimated at NOK 482 million per year, and this cost has not been prioritized in the annual budgets.
All Norwegian public universities and colleges are free, but students attending private institutions may apply for an additional loan of up to NOK 57,870 in order to finance tuition. Such loans may not be converted to grants.
In addition to this, students receive financial support for tuition fees also while studying abroad. The percentage of this that is given as a grant is 50% at an undergraduate level and 70% at a graduate level. Based on where in the world they live, they will also receive a travel grant which usually is enough to pay for one return ticket to go home per semester.
The interest of the loans are relatively low compared to other forms of debts. In January 2014 the interest rate was 2.575%. However, as long as the student is registered as a full-time student, the loans are free of interest. The interest only starts generating after the student has graduated.
- Lånekassen was established in 1947, in the continuation of a series of welfare bills for students in higher education
- In the first year, a total of NOK 3,3 million was allocated to ca. 2200 students
- In the late 1950s, support was extended to pupils in upper secondary education
- Means testing of the parents’ economy was disbanded in the early 1970s
- The 1980s saw a comprehensive decentralization of Lånekassen's organization and the growing importance of regional offices
- The system of grants and loans was further developed and differentiated in the 1980s and 1990s
- Computer systems for mass-processing of applications were installed in the 1980s and 1990s
Activities and key figures
- Lånekassen has about 982,000 customers in total (per 31.12.2013)
- NOK 23 billions was allocated to about 392,600 customers in 2012-2013
- NOK 3,8 billions was allocated as grants and NOK 19,2 billions was given as loans. In addition, app. 5 billions more will be converted into grants.
- There are about 598,500 customers currently repaying their loans in 2014
- The outstanding debt is about NOK 139,7 billions in 2013
- Lånekassen assessed 830,000 applications for educational support and for payment deferrals
- Head office is in Oslo
- Lånekassen has offices in Tromsø, Trondheim, Ørsta, Bergen and Stavanger
- Lånekassen has 299 permanent employeers (per 31.12.2013).
- The running expenses for 2013 amounted to NOK 304,4 million
- "Så mye kan du få" (in Norwegian). Lånekassen. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- "Inntekt og formue" (in Norwegian). Lånekassen. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Halle, Jon Robin (1 March 2010). "Grasrot-demonstrasjoner for 11 måneders studiestøtte" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten. Retrieved 13 July 2010.