Today marks one year since Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. The ensuing chaos forced many to flee their homes. Some sought refuge in Norway.
In March of 2022 the Norwegian government created a support scheme for the students who were affected by the war for the spring semester. The scheme was then prolonged to July 31st, 2023.
The intention was initially to support those who faced financial upheaval due to the conflict in Ukraine and the financial sanctions, and thereby compensate for funds they no longer had access to. The support was given to Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian students, however, the program was not extended for the latter two groups last year.
The scheme is set to end at the end of July later this year.
– It should be prolonged
Volodymyr Ilkiv came to Norway in January of 2022, before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as an exchange student.
– The five years before that I studied at Kyiv University, says Ilkiv.
Now he is partaking in the master’s program in System Dynamics at the University of Bergen. He is one of many who lost access to important funds almost overnight and were offered financial support by the Norwegian government. This enabled him to become a full-time student in Norway.
Those who are qualified to apply for the scheme receives up to NOK 11.500 per month from March to August, and PhD students received up to 21.000 a month.
Ilkiv is in the final semester of his master in System Dynamics. Although he is planning on leaving Norway soon, he thinks his fellow Ukrainian students needs continued financial support from the Norwegian government.
– I think that it should be prolonged, he says and continues:
– A lot of Ukrainian students try to find jobs so that they can be independent in Norway, but those who have just arrived in the country needs this support.
Wants to contribute
Ilkiv underlines that Ukrainians in Bergen try to avoid being passive and disinterested in partaking in the country they find themselves in.
– We don’t try to just be students. We try to create organizations, we try to connect Norwegians and Ukrainians.
– Has the support scheme made your everyday life as a student easier?
– Yes, of course! It helps me focus on my studies, and helping Ukrainians both here and in Ukraine.
Will consider to prolong
Head of Department, Hilde Elin Haaland-Kramer, in the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills writes in an e-mail to Studvest that the scheme was established to allow Ukrainian students who were here in February 2022 to complete their degrees.
– It has not yet been decided whether the funding will be prolonged beyond the end of July 2023. In dialogue with the Ministry, we will consider to prolong the scheme for students who have not yet finished their study programmes.