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Students in higher education can be granted student loan compensation even if their graduation was delayed due to the coronavirus epidemic
If a student completes a higher education degree within the target time, Kela can pay a portion of the student loan. An extension can be granted to the target time if the graduation was delayed because of the coronavirus epidemic.
If the graduation was delayed due to the coronavirus epidemic and the student completed their degree after the target time to qualify for a student loan compensation, the student will receive a preliminary decision from Kela informing them that they have not been granted a student loan compensation. Students who are dissatisfied with the preliminary decision must request a review of their case from Kela within a month of receiving the preliminary decision. In the request for review, they must explain how the coronavirus epidemic has delayed their graduation.
The reason for the delay can be related to the study arrangements, travel restrictions or to some other government recommendation. The reason can also be related to the health or general life situation of the student or a family member of the student.
An extension can also be granted due to reasons other than the coronavirus epidemic. Such acceptable reasons are
- performing conscript or non-military service or voluntary military service for women
- child care, but only if the student has received maternity, paternity or parental allowance
- illness, but only if the student has received sickness allowance, communicable disease allowance or some other compensation on the grounds of incapacity for work
- procedures for awarding diplomas at a foreign higher education institution or start and end dates for the terms that differ from those in Finland.
How to submit a request for review
Students can submit a request for review by sending a message via the e-service OmaKela at www.kela.fi/omakela (in Finnish) or www.fpa.fi/mittfpa (in Swedish). Under Aihe (Ämne), select Opiskelijan asiat (Ärenden som gäller studerande) and then Opintolainahyvitys (Studielånskompensation).
Alternatively, the student can mail the request for review to Kela, PL 10, 00056 KELA.
The request for review shall include the following information:
- The preliminary decision that the student wishes to have reviewed.
- The requested changes to the preliminary decision.
- On what grounds the changes should be made.
The request must also include the name, personal identity code, signature, address and telephone number of the person requesting the review.
Student loan compensation can be granted up to a third of the amount of the outstanding student debt
The student loan compensation is equal to 40 percent of the amount of outstanding student debt exceeding EUR 2,500. There is, however, a maximum limit to the amount of student loan compensation you can get. For example, the maximum amount of student loan compensation for a Master’s degree requiring 300 study points is EUR 6,200.
Student loan compensation can be granted to students who have started their first higher education studies in autumn 2014 or later. Students who have started their higher education studies earlier are entitled to a student loan tax deduction.
In April, Kela sent a preliminary decision to 2,250 students that had completed a higher education decree in the autumn term of 2020, informing them that they had not been granted a student loan compensation.
In 2020, Kela paid a total of EUR 67 million in student loan compensation to 15 275 students who had completed a higher education degree. The average amount of student loan compensation was EUR 4,410.