How to apply for financial aid

  1. Apply for financial aid online. Log in to Kela's online customer service using your bank ID and password or a mobile certificate.
  2. Scan or take a photo of supporting documents and send them over the internet.
  3. You can use Kela's online service to see whether you application has been decided and the amount you will receive.
  4. Kela will send you a written decision about the financial aid. If you are under 18, Kela will communicate the decision also to your legal guardian.

Alternatively you can fill in and print an application for financial aid. The documents required in support of a paper application can be mailed to Kela or delivered to your nearest Kela office or citizen service centre or to your school.

  • If you are in secondary education, complete the application for financial aid (OT 1e) intended for students of vocational institutes, upper secondary schools and folk high schools.
  • If you are in higher education, complete the  application for financial aid (OT 2e) for students of universities and universities of applied sciences.
  • If you are completing a degree abroad, compete the application for financial aid (OT 3e) for students completing a degree abroad. Submit your application to any of Kela's customer service points.
  • If you apply for a government loan guarantee under the adult education programme, complete the form Aikuiskoulutustukeen liittyvän opintolainan valtiontakaushakemus (OT 12 available only in Finnish). Submit your application to any of Kela's customer service points or, if it concerns financial aid for adult students, to the Education Fund.
  • If you are a permanent resident of the Åland Islands, apply to Ålands arbetskrafts- och studieservicemyndighet for financial aid.

If you are in higher education and receive a study grant, you will automatically be given a government loan guarantee for a student loan. If you are in secondary education, you can apply for a loan guarantee at the same time when you apply for a study grant and a housing supplement. Once you have been given a loan guarantee, you can apply for a student loan at a bank of your choice.

Applications from university students are usually handled by the financial aid committee of the university. If you study at the University of Helsinki or the University of the Arts, your application is handled by Kela.

Application period

Apply for financial aid when you have gained admission to a school. Kela is notified of admissions to Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences as well as to upper secondary school and institutes of vocational education that participate in the joint application system. If you attend one of these schools, you can apply for financial aid as soon as your school shows up on the precompleted online application for financial aid.

The earliest that you can get financial aid is the beginning of the month of application. However, you can make additions to your application later on for example by sending supporting documentation.

Example

A student wishes to receive financial aid starting from September. Her application must reach the school or Kela by 30 September. If she mails her application on 30 September but it arrives on 1 October, financial aid can be granted from the beginning of October.

Apply for the entire course of study at the same time. That way financial aid will continue to paid automatically for example after the summer break.

If you have applied for a benefit that disqualifies you for financial aid, wait for a decision on that application. If your application is turned down, you can get financial aid from the beginning of the month in which you applied for the disqualifying benefit. Apply for financial aid as soon as you have received a decision on the disqualifying benefit, or in any case within 6 months.

The same goes for the general housing allowance. If you apply for general housing allowance and your application is turned down, you can receive a housing supplement for students from the beginning of the month in which you applied for general housing allowance.

Supporting documents

Check the online customer service or the paper application form to see if your application for financial aid must accompanied by supporting documents.

If you apply for a housing supplement, enclose a copy of your rental or right-of-occupancy agreement with the application. If the population data system does not contain up-to-date information about the residents of your dwelling, you must also enclose with your application a certificate titledtodistus asumisesta opintotuen asumislisää varten (OT 8 available in Finnish).

A rental agreement or OT 8 form is not required if

An OT 8 form is not needed in the following situations:

  • You live in a dwelling which you are renting from a student housing foundation or other landlord participating in computerised exchange of data. List of participating landlords.
  • You live in a school dormitory.
  • You live and study abroad.

Report changes in your circumstances

Remember to report all changes in your circumstances to Kela so that benefits can be paid to correctly. The payment of benefits is affected by such things as withdrawing from your course of study, moving to a new apartment, changes in your housing costs, or the birth of a child. You can make the report on the online customer service website, by phone or directly to a Kela office.

Additional information

Last modified 03/06/2016
Updated 25/04/2016