The relationship between housing subsidies and student outcomes

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
72 + 4
In Finland, student housing is subsidized with general housing allowance and by supporting the production of student apartments. In this thesis, the relationship between housing subsidies and student outcomes is examined. The context is loosely built around the reform that came into effect in Finland in year 2017, in which students were moved under the general housing allowance system. The main research method of the thesis is a literature review on the impact of student aid and housing choices on students’ time use and academic outcomes. To support the results of the literature review, an empirical analysis is conducted regarding the differences in students’ time use by their living situation. The link between housing subsidies and student outcomes is closely connected to working while studying; working decreases the time available for spending on educational tasks. Based on previous research, it seems that increasing student aid (especially direct cash transfers) leads to decreases in working while studying, and shorter times-to-degree. Changes in the aid level seem to have a larger impact in the earlier study years, and for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The housing aid affects housing choices through the incentives created by the system. Increasing the level of the aid may increase the demand for more expensive apartments. In addition, subsidies affect other types of housing choices: for example, the general housing allowance encourages to live alone due to the fact that it takes into account the whole household’s income level, and not just the individual’s, who is seeking for aid. Housing choices, in turn, impact students’ time use, and through that potentially their academic performance. My empirical analysis on the time use of American students implies that students living with their partner and/or children spend less time on studies. On the other hand, students with roommates tend to spend more time. The results of the analysis are descriptive in nature, and their purpose is to serve as evidence of the potential link between the living situation and the time used on studies.
Thesis advisor
Domnisoru, Ciprian
student aid, housing aid, housing choices, student outcomes
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