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News in English

Study loan possible for students in default

Against the common belief, even a student in default can get a loan guaranteed by the state. This is possible when a student is in minor default and the default was registered a reasonably long time ago.

"We are aware of only a few cases of default per year. This is probably because students with a default donÂ’t apply for guaranteed loans", says Eini Mäkelä, Student Financial Aid Officer at the University of Tampere.

Last year, approximately 3100 loan applicators in Finland were in default which affects the granting of a state guaranteed study loan. Eight percent of them were university students.

A default also effects banking and student housing. A person in default cannot get a credit card and may have difficulty in getting a loan or finding housing. Student housing foundations are allowed to turn down applications even for a minor default.

Toas does not check their applicantsÂ’ credit ratings systematically, unlike other major student housing agencies.

“We check random samples of credit files, and only occasionally discover defaults. If the default is recent or housing-related, we reject the application", says Jari Kivipelto, Finance Manager at Toas.

Cockroaches in Mikontalo

Cockroaches have been sighted in different apartments in the Toas building Mikontalo. In some places there have been so many of them that it has taken several poisonings to get rid of them.

It is suspected that the cockroaches have been accidentally carried in to the building by exchange students, since most of the larger sightings have been in their apartments. It is easy to accidentally carry cockroaches in your luggage.

"Cockroaches spread easily in apartments where cleaning is neglected. Some of the exchange students come from cultures where cockroaches are not considered a problem", says Property Manager Pasi Mäkinen from Toas.

A true war against cockroaches is waged in the C part of Mikontalo which is being renovated. The structures are systematically poisoned. Even though the operation is big and may cost a four digit figure, Mäkinen points out that this is not unusual in buildings this old.

"If you find cockroaches in your apartment, you need to inform your Housing Manager immediately so that the insects donÂ’t spread."

Tamy housing services for universities of applied sciences

Students at universities of applied sciences in Tampere can now use TamyÂ’ housing services. Before, the service was only for students at the University of Tampere and at Tampere University of Technology. A joint project of all institutes of higher education at Tampere, Opiskelijan Tampere, will publish a guide manual for the housing services on its web site during this spring.

"The students can use the service even before that, provided they can find it", says Kati Rajala, Tamy Secretary General.

Peak time for MasterÂ’s degrees in the spring

It is possible that during the following spring and summer twice as many people will graduate with a MasterÂ’s degree from the University of Tampere than is usual in the spring term.

This is because all students who began their studies before fall 2005 and do not want to transfer to the new two-phase degree structure must graduate by the end of July.

The July deadline has caused long queues for the compulsory courses at the Language Center and at the Department of Speech Communication and Voice Research. Additional groups have been organised in order to secure that all those who want to graduate before the beginning of August can be admitted to the courses.

All in all, almost 7700 students are studying according to the old degree structure at the University of Tampere. Medical School studentsÂ’ have a longer transition period which ends in the summer 2010. Approximately 1700 students already have the 160 credits they need to complete their MasterÂ’s studies, and they mainly need to write their theses and complete their language studies.

"I believe that more than 1000 students will graduate with a MasterÂ’s degree in the spring, whereas usually approximately 600 do", estimates Mikko Markkola from the Department of Academic and International Affairs.

The peak time for MasterÂ’s degrees in the spring and summer means busy times for departments and faculties, who have a great number of theses to evaluate and many degree certificates to write.

"We hope to have all the information we need for granting the MasterÂ’s degrees registered by the end of May, but the end of July is the ultimate deadline. University staff have holidays in the summertime", says Markkola.

If students who began their studies before fall 2005 do not graduated by the end of July, they will transfer to the new degree structure. This means that a BachelorÂ’s degree will become compulsory for a MasterÂ’s degree. The students who transfer must also make a personal study plan.

Increasing interest in exchange programmes

Each year, more and more students are interested in information on international exchange programmes. Last week, an estimated 200 students went to listen to instructions on exchange programmes. The number of students actually going abroad as exchange students has been rising for a few years now.

However, the University of Tampere still accepts a slightly bigger number of exchange students than it sends out. The University would like to see approximately an even number of exchange students sent out and accepted, so more and more students are being encouraged to apply for exchange programmes.

Also, foreign students who study in MasterÂ’s degree programmes have begun to apply for exchange agreements while in Finland, so the application announcement is now available in English, too. Not much information on the programmes is available in English, because there are still very few people who need it. Foreign students who apply for the programmes get information mostly in person at the Department of Academic and International Affairs.

"It is not worthwhile producing a lot of material in English, because there are not many people who need it. We have to think about how sensible it is to apply for an exchange programme in the middle of an intensive MasterÂ’s degree programme that is already being taken abroad. MasterÂ’s degree programmes last only for two years, so there is not much time for travel", says Kaisa Kurki, Coordinator of International Education.

The number of international MasterÂ’s degree programmes at the University of Tampere has multiplied during the past decade. The university already accepts more foreign degree programme students than exchange students. Due to the increasing number of international students, the Department of International Affairs is paying for an additional basic course in Finnish this year.

Translations: Reija Kontio

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