A proposal from the Labour Market Commission could reward students starting and finishing higher education faster with more student aid, reports Berlingske Tidende newspaper.
In particular, the commission believes the period between when a student finishes secondary school and begins university should be shortened.
According to the commission’s calculations, cutting the average length of student education by just one semester could increase employment and strengthen public finances by around 2.5 billion kroner annually.
‘For young people who work prior to attending university, more money in student aid will motivate them to a quicker start into education,’ said Torben M. Andersen, former head of the national Economic Forecasting Unit.
Education Minister Bertil Haarder said that Denmark is notorious for its students having the world’s longest educational periods.
‘And that’s not something we should be proud of,’ said Haarder.
But the commission’s proposal currently lacks the support of both the Social Democrats and the government’s own Conservative Party. Both parties believe that other measures taken recently to help students complete their education faster have been successful.
‘It can be tempting to do all sort of things with student aid, but we risk hurting the weakest students,’ said Charlotte Dyremose, Conservative education spokeswoman.
‘A person coming from an economically weak and non-university educated family is usually going to take longer to complete their education.’
Dyremose added that if a student starts their university education earlier, receives extra student aid, and then fails to complete their degree; they would just have more money to pay back to the state.