Maximum period of eligibility for financial aid

The maximum period of eligibility for financi aid is different in higher education and upper secondary education. Also the number of months of aid you can get in a single school year varies depending on your school.

Months of financial aid available during the school year: Higher education

In higher education, you can get 9 months of financial aid per academic year. The months of aid are September to May. You can apply for financial aid for a shorter period of time or for longer if you also study in the summer.

You can get financial assistance for the first and last month of study if there are at least 18 days of active study in that month.

The 18-day rule also applies to other than degree-oriented studies with fixed start and end dates. They include, for example, preparatory studies and continuing vocational training.

The National Defence University and the Police University College apply different rules to determine the months for financial aid is available during a specific academic year.

Months of financial aid available during the school year: Vocational education

If you are completing a basic vocational qualification or a course of study preparing you for a vocational qualification (VALMA), you can (starting 1 August 2018) get financial aid for 10 months per study year. The months of aid are August to May. You can apply for financial aid for a shorter period of time or for longer if you also study in the summer.

You can get financial assistance for the first and last month of study if there are at least 18 days of active study in that month.

In other vocational education, the number of months of financial aid available during the academic year depends on the period of study. You can get financial aid for calendar months in which there are at least 18 days of active study.

  • Financial aid is available for the first month of study in the school year if the first day of study is in the first half of the month with the result that there are at least 18 days of active study in that month.
  • Financial aid is available for the last month of study in the school year if the last day of study is the 18th day of the month or later.
  • If a course of study is interrupted during the academic year with the result that there are fewer than 18 active days of study in a given calendar month, you cannot get financial aid for that month. However, this does not apply to the Christmas break if it does not exceed 24 calendar days.

Example

The period of study in folk high schools is 20 August to 24 May. There are only 12 active days of study in August (20 August - 31 August), which means that financial aid is not available for that month. There are 24 active days of study in May (1 May - 24 May), which means that financial aid is available for that month. Financial aid can be paid from the beginning of September until the end of May.

Months of financial aid available during the school year: General upper secondary school

You can get financial aid for study in an upper secondary school for 9 months per school year. The months of aid are usually September to May.

If a course of study is interrupted during the academic year with the result that there are fewer than 18 active days of study in a given calendar month, you cannot get financial aid for that month. However, this does not apply to the Christmas break if it does not exceed 24 calendar days.

If you complete the matriculation examination in the autumn, you can get financial aid starting from August if instruction begins on 14 August or earlier. Apply for additional financial aid for the month of August by the end of August. Eligibility for financial aid usually ends in November.

Study during the summer months

You can get financial aid for summer study. You can get financial aid for attending lectures, tests, job training or working on a thesis, among other things.

If you are in general upper secondary you cannot normally get financial aid in the summer.

If you are in upper secondary education but not in general upper secondary school, you can get financial aid in the summer if

  • you study in order to complete a degree or a course of study
  • the extent of study is on average at least 4.5 credit points, 3 credit units or 25 hours a week for each month of study and
  • there are at least 18 calendar days of study in each month for which you seek financial aid.

The progress requirements which apply in the summer are averaged out over the entire summer. You need not make the specified amount of progress in each month for which you receive financial aid. You can make up for any deficit in another month. The main thing is that you study in each month for which you receive financial aid and that the number of credits you earn and the length of the course of study are sufficient.

To students in higher education financial aid for the summer months is granted in accordance with application. Financial aid is granted for the period you indicate in your application.

Remember that your annual income is checked and your academic progress in higher education is monitored

Higher education students must keep in mind that taking out financial aid for summer study counts against their total eligibility for financial aid, which is calculated in months. Any summer months for which a student receives financial aid are also taken into account when checking the student’s annual income and monitoring their academic progress.

Kela checks study progress every year in October. The check focuses on the entire preceding academic year (1 August – 31 July). Credits earned in August count towards the next academic year's study progress.

How to apply financial aid for the summer months

  1. Apply online for financial aid for the summer months. Log in to Kela's online customer service (in Finnish and Swedish only) using your online banking credentials or a mobile ID.
  2. If you are in upper secondary education or if you study abroad, provide a study plan for the summer months with your financial aid application and enclose a certificate from your school about the summer study.
  3. Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them online.

Alternatively you can complete and print out a notification of changes (OT 15e). You can send the paper application and the necessary supporting documents to Kela by mail.

Remember to apply for financial for the summer in good time. The earliest you can get financial aid is the beginning of the month in which your application arrives.

If you cannot study in the summer and you do not have a summer job, you can apply to Kela for basic social assistance.