Suomen opiskelijakuntien liitto – SAMOK (University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland) is a national interest and service organisation independently administered by students in universities of applied sciences. SAMOK is the outlook promoter of the students in universities of applied sciences and speaks on behalf of about 145.000 students in applied sciences, representing 23 student unions in different universities. Through SAMOK, these students are represented to state administration and co-operation partners.
Since the beginning of the reformation of the educational system in Finland into a comprehensive school in the 60s, the topic of universities of applied sciences has been on the discussion agenda. Increasing pressures to widen access to higher education and answer the demands of the labour market for a more highly educated workforce resulted in action only in the late 80s although the initiatives faced much criticism. As a result of these initiatives, the Ministry of Education began a pilot project in August 1991 by establishing the first universities of applied sciences with a temporary license.
The institutions were granted permanent licences in August 1996 after an evaluation process conducted by the Ministry. In the wake of this, three student organisations representing business students (SKOL), engineering students (STOL) and health care students (TERHOL) joined together to establish SAMOK on June 15 1996.