Child during the studies – a question of priorities

Marianne Bom & Rie Jerichow, Publicér

Can you have not one, but two children during your study – and still have better finances than before? Yes, say Ragnar Joensen and his girlfriend Emma Ósk Magnúsdóttir.

It is a bit of a handful to have just one child. But when you have two, and both the mother and the father are students, many would be out of breath just at the thought. Ragnar Joensen and his girlfriend Emma Ósk Magnúsdóttir are breathing quite calmly.

“Several have asked if it is a good idea to have children during the study, and we have always said that it is a question of priorities. If you are ready to sacrifice your party nights and a great social life with your friends, then go for it. You can always get friends and buddies once you hit the business market. But if you are not ready to sacrifice any of it, then don’t. To us, everything is about family and homework. And if you then also have a job on the side, there is no time left,” says Ragnar Joensen, the proud father of a boy aged five, and a girl aged two.

Though the life as a studying couple with
children demands that the social life is
limited, neither Emma nor Ragnar has
regretted their priorities. “You can always
get friends and buddies once you hit
the business market,” says the parents.
Private photo.

If it happens, then it happens
Ragnar Joensen has studied master of science in engineering at DTU and now studies bachelor of engineering in value chains and technical management at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. His girlfriend just started her nurse studies. “We had Benjamin in 2013. And in 2016, while we were both studying, we had our daughter Halldóra. It was not completely planned, but we had also discussed that it shouldn’t be too long between the two children. We both had the attitude that if it happens, it happens,” he says.

For Ragnar, it was not that different to have child number two. “I had tried it before. Our first child was one year old while I was taking an admission class for DTU. Second time was a bit harder for my girlfriend, because she had to pause her nurse studies. There are of course some long days and nights, where we are doing our homework, but I always knew what we were walking into,” says Ragnar Joensen.

No mother dearest
Many young couples with children benefits from having a family that can help them during the hard times. These two have not had this opportunity. “We are fairly alone in Denmark. I am from the Faroe Islands, and my girlfriend is from Iceland, so both our families live far away. Generally, people around us have been positive, but there are some who have questioned how this would work – especially considering we don’t have families to help us. We would have liked that, but it worked – and it works,” says Ragnar Joensen and continues: “We attempt to divide the time between us and take care of the children in shifts at night and during the weekends, so the other has time to study.”

Light ahead
But it is not all hard. “Our finances, for instance, have not suffered. To be honest, I think it has improved from having children. We get grants for daycare and kindergarten, and we get higher housing benefits and higher SU, and we both get child support every third month. We do not complain,” he says. And when he looks further into the future, he sees some benefits. “We assume that we may be more attractive on the business market, because we already had two children. So we do not regret anything. We handle our studies and do fairly well. We haven’t failed any classes and pass with good grades. But we have prioritized not to have a social life and only a limited social circle. There is no time for drinking coffee with friends at night. But the friends won’t have time for that either, when they have children,” says Ragnar Joensen.

If you become a mother while studying at the university, you can:

  • Get 12 months extra “SU-klip”.
  • Apply for these “klip” three months before the due date.
  • Get the extra “SU-klip” cashed in from two months before the due date.
  • Decide when in your education you want the extra “klip” cashed out.
  • Decide to transfer up to six months of the extra “SU-klip” to the father. In order to do so, you both have to study at the university and live up to the SU conditions (the father cannot transfer extra SU to you).

If you become a father while studying at the university, you can:

  • Get six months extra “SU-klip”.
  • Decide when during the education you want the extra “klip” cashed out.
  • The mother of the child can transfer up to six of the 12 months extra “SU-klip” she has to you. If she does so, you have 12 months extra “SU-klip”. In order to do so, you both have to study at the university and live up to the SU conditions (you cannot transfer any of your extra SU to the mother of the child).

Source: .

Read more about the specific rules at – search for ‘børn’.

Read more about the heightened child support at – search for ‘børnetilskud til forældre under uddannelse’.