Norway’s state student loan and grant agency Lånekassen suspects that some students are swindling the state for millions by claiming coverage of living expenses even though they actually are living at home with their parents.
Lånekassen officials have sent letters to an estimated 50,000 students, demanding that they document their living arrangements and prove that they lived outside their parents’ home. If not, the state will refuse to convert their student loans to grants that don’t need to be repaid.
Only students who moved away to study at qualified colleges or universities can apply to have their loans converted into grants called utdanningsstipend, Marianne Andreassen, managing director of Lånekassen, told state broadcaster NRK.
Norway charges no university tuition and offers generous state-subsidized financing to students as part of efforts to promote higher education. To prevent abuse of the system, Lånekasse staff is thus launching its largest probe ever, checking up on all students studying at schools relatively close to their parents’ homes. Låndkassen officials are demanding documentation such as copies of rental contracts to verify the students’ place of residence.