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The biggest issues at the Uni part 2/5: the University cuts

11.11.2015

What will the university cut and how?

A change programme, cut programme, savings programme – the University of Helsinki has started the planning of significant cuts in September 2015. The University has to adjust its finances due to the unforeseen funding cuts made by the Finnish Government.

According to the estimation of the University, the cuts targeted at the University of Helsinki will be 106 million euros by the year of 2020. The University Board aims to save a total of 86 million euros, which means that costs will be reduced all over the university organisation. This state of scarcity will most likely continue over the coming years, unless significant donations, for example, would bring unpredictably large income to the University.


Revocation of the pharmacy compensation – nearly 30 million cuts to the finances of the University of Helsinki

The largest single cut aimed at the University of Helsinki, in particular, is the revocation of the pharmacy compensation, which annually reduces the university budget by 29 million euro. The pharmacy compensation means that the state has paid back to the University of Helsinki the pharmacy fee paid by University Pharmacy, which is owned by the University.

The University Board has submitted a statement to the Ministry of Education and Culture on the revocation of the pharmacy compensation most recently in October. According to the University, the revocation interferes with the University's self-government. The statement can be read here: http://jolu.it.helsinki.fi/halvi/hallinto/HYhallitus.nsf/821ea8991f743f7...$FILE/Liite%2003%20HYn_lausunto_Yliopistolaki75.3.pdf

In addition to the revocation of the pharmacy compensation, the funding of the Academy of Finland and Tekes is cut. The organisations grant funding for research, which further reduces the amount allocated to the University's research.

Number of staff and university facilities will reduce

The largest expense items in the finances of the University of Helsinki are facilities and staff salaries.

In recent years, the University has been able to hire administrative staff only for justified reasons. Due to the change programme and the ongoing co-operation negotiations, the University has a valid ban on recruitment, which means that the university does not hire new employees at all for now. In September 2015, the University started co-operation negotiations that concern the maximum of 1,200 employees. Since more than half of the University of Helsinki employees work in teaching and research positions, co-operation negotiations and redundancies also concern them. This inevitably affects the opportunities of faculties and departments to organise teaching, ensure smooth study progress and to engage in high-quality research.

The objective of the University Board is to maintain high-quality teaching and research. Still, it is likely that the uncertainty of the staff, redundancies and the transition phase will also affect the services and every-day life of students and researchers, when the redundancies have taken effect. The basic funding of all units is cut by 20%, which means that it is unlikely that lecturers will be hired in the near future.

The University will most likely aim to reduce its facilities on the campuses in order to reduce rental and maintenance costs. The University has been willing to reduce the number of facilities in the past. Due to the change programme, the use of facilities will be examined more strictly.
In addition to personnel and facility costs, the change programme includes other saving targets. It is likely that savings are also targeted at support services, such as the library and IT services. Student representatives in administration in your own unit can provide information on cutting plans in your faculty or department, see the contact details on the website of your unit or at hyy.helsinki.fi/halloped. In case of any problems, it is advisable to contact the Student Union, which can bring up the problems to the university management.

The final saving targets and measures will be specified in the University's target programme 2016 and there is no accurate information on savings concerning students yet. The Student Union will do its best to see to it that students will receive information when decisions are made. The University Board will approve the next year's target programme in December 2015.

All changes do not mean cuts

In addition to the change programme, there are other ongoing changes at the University at the same time: the Big Wheel - the reform of degree programmes, the reform of university administration and the reform of the faculty structure. We provide information on all these matters during the autumn in this ”The most important issues at the University right now” series.

The Big Wheel, in particular, was started before the parliamentary elections in the spring and the information about massive cuts on university funding. The purpose of the Big Wheel is to improve the quality of teaching and the relevance of degrees in the working life.

The University provides information on the change programme at Flamma: https://flamma.helsinki.fi/portal/home/sisalto?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=con...