The student loan is a government-guaranteed loan that you must pay back. If Kela gives you a loan guarantee you can apply for a loan at a bank of your choice.
Because the loan is guaranteed by Kela you do not have to put up any other security. The loan guarantee is valid for up to 30 years from the first disbursement of loan funds.
The interest payable on the loan and the repayment schedule are agreed between you and the bank.
You can get a government guarantee for a student loan if you are being paid a study grant by Kela or an adult education allowance by the Education Fund.
Even if you are not paid a study grant, you may qualify for a loan guarantee in the following situations:
- You are 18 or 19 years of age, you live with your parent(s), you are in secondary education, and you cannot get a study grant on account of parental income.
- You are under 17 and you do not live with your parent(s), and you are not eligible for a study grant because you are entitled to child benefit. You are entitled to a government guarantee if your parents' combined income is less than EUR 61,000 per year.
- You attend the National Defence University or the Border and Coast Guard Academy (basic course for border guards) and you cannot get a study grant because your school pays you a daily allowance.
If you are 17 years of age you can get a loan guarantee only if you are being paid a study grant.
When is a loan guarantee not available?
You cannot get a loan guarantee if you have previous student loan debt which is being collected by Kela.
If you are denied a loan guarantee because your previous student loan is subject to collection by Kela, you can apply for it again by appealing to exceptional reasons. This means that you must provide a statement to Kela about the reasons. The financial aid decision includes instructions for providing a statement. If the reasons you set out in the statement are accepted, you will receive a favourable loan guarantee decision. If they are not accepted, the decision will be unfavourable.
Starting 1 August 2017, a payment default entry in their credit record will no longer disqualify students for the loan guarantee.
Social assistance is a form of last-resort financial support
You can apply for basic social assistance from Kela if all your earnings and assets and other social security benefits that you may have been awarded are not sufficient to cover your necessary everyday living expenses, such as food and housing.