Quick guide to financial aid for students

Students are eligible for various types of financial assistance from Kela during education. The following checklist sums up the key points relating to the assistance available from Kela, from the beginning of study to graduation.

Your studies begin

 

Financial aid for students

The student financial aid safeguards your income during your studies. You can receive student financial aid for post-comprehensive school studies. Student financial aid includes the study grant and a state guarantee for a student loan. Some students also receive a housing supplement.

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Apply for financial aid

Apply for financial aid once you have been admitted to a school. If you are required formally to accept the place of study offered, apply for financial aid once you have done so. Even if you do not yet know how and where you will be living during your studies, you can apply for the study grant and the student loan guarantee.

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Apply for housing allowance

If you are studying in Finland, apply to Kela for the general housing allowance. You can apply for this after you have signed the rental agreement. If you are moving out from the home of your parent(s), fill out the form for notifying Kela of changes in the financial aid for students.

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Apply to a bank for a student loan

After you receive a decision notifying you that you have been granted a government loan guarantee, you can apply for a student loan with a bank of your choice. You can make apply through the bank's online service.

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School transport subsidy

You can get the school transport subsidy if you attend upper secondary education or basic vocational education provided your one-way trip from home to school is at least 10 kilometres.

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Apply for the school transport subsidy

If you are a secondary-level student, apply for the school transport subsidy by completing form KM1 (in Finnish,  KM1r in Swedish) and submitting it to your school. You must apply separately for each term.

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Financial aid is paid on the 4th of the month

Financial aid payments are deposited to your account on the 4th of the month or the immediately following business day. For example, if the 4th day of the month is a Saturday, the study grant is paid on the following Monday.

 

Keep your payslips

If you have been employed, keep your payslips for the year in which you begin your studies. If your annual income exceeds the maximum limit for financial aid, you can use the payslips to prove what part of your income was earned before you began your studies.

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Student meal subsidy

Kela pays part of higher education students’ meals at student restaurants.

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During your studies

 

Report changes

Please let us know if there are changes in your circumstances. Such changes include transferring to another educational institution, discontinuing your studies, moving, or studying abroad on a temporary basis.

Remember to notify separately us about changes that affect the housing allowance, such as income, living costs or members of the household.

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Apply for financial aid for the summer

You can get financial aid also for the summer if you study on a full-time basis. You can also work a summer job. If you cannot study in the summer and you do not have a summer job, you can apply to Kela for basic social assistance.

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Payment of financial aid continues in the autumn term

If you have been granted financial aid for your entire course of study, the payment of financial aid will continue automatically after the summer. Visit Kela's online customer service website to check the next payment date.

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Apply for school transport subsidy each year

If you are in secondary education, remember to apply for school transport subsidy when a new school year begins.

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Check your credit total

Higher education students: check at the end of each academic year that you have earned enough academic credits (ECTS). If you do not have enough credits, you can voluntarily repay some financial aid by a specified deadline. Otherwise Kela may stop paying you financial aid the following January.

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Monitoring academic progress

You must make progress in your studies to get financial aid. If you are in higher education, Kela checks your academic progress each year in October. If you are in secondary education, your school monitors your progress.

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Check your income

If you are employed, check your income against the annual income limit. You can do this on Kela's online customer service website. In April or May, the online customer service will also show preliminary information about your annual income. If you exceed the income limit, repay some financial aid by the end of May.

If you receive the general housing allowance, remember to notify us immediately of changes in your income.

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Kela collects overpaid financial aid

To avoid having to pay back overpaid financial aid, check your income and, if necessary, repay voluntarily some financial aid by the end of May. Otherwise, Kela will collect the overpaid financial aid from you plus an additional 7.5 per cent.

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Kela can pay back part of your student loan

If you are in higher education, have a student loan and graduate within the target time you can get a tax deduction or Kela can pay off up to one third of your student loan.

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If you run out of financial aid

If you run out of financial aid before graduating, you can apply for extended aid. If you are not granted an extension, you can apply to Kela for basic social assistance.

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Congratulations, you've graduated!

 

Do not pay back student loan during your graduation year

If you are in higher education, you should not make repayments on your student loan in or before the year you graduate. Doing so may make you ineligible for a student loan tax deduction or compensation.

 

Keep your payslips

Save your payslips for the year of graduation. If your annual income exceeds the income limit for financial aid, you can use your payslips to prove that you have earned it after you graduated.

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Notify Kela of changes in income

If you receive the general housing allowance and your income changes after graduation, remember to notify us of this immediately.

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If you cannot find work immediately

If you cannot find work immediately after graduating, register as an unemployed jobseeker with the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE office) and apply to Kela for unemployment benefit.

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Pay the interest on your student loan and start to pay back the loan

After you graduate, you will need to start paying interest on your student loan. You will also have to begin making repayments on the loan. Contact your bank to find out what the payment schedule is. If you have low income, Kela can pay the interest on your student loan. When your bank bills you for the interest, apply for interest assistance using form OT7 (in Finnish, OT7r in Swedish).

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