Student loan tax deduction
If you take out a student loan while in higher education and you complete your degree within the target time, you may be eligible for a student loan tax deduction.
As you make repayments on your loan to the bank, your taxes are reduced by the amount of the student loan tax deduction The deduction is only available to higher education students who began their first course of study in higher education before 1 August 2014.
You are eligible for student loan tax deduction if you meet all of the following requirements:
- you began your first course of study in higher education before 1 August 2014
- you complete your degree within the target time and
- you have outstanding student debt of more than 2,500 euros.
Degrees which qualify you for the deduction are:
- bachelor's and master's level university degrees
- bachelor's or master level degree obtained in a university of applied sciences.
You only get the deduction for the first higher education degree you complete in Finland or abroad, provided that you started the degree programme between 1 August 2005 and 31 July 2019. If you started on or after 1 August 2019, you are not eligible.
The student loan tax deduction is available for a bachelor's degree only if you gained admission to the bachelor's programme exclusively.
Most graduates receive a written decision on the student loan tax deduction automatically. If you have completed a degree outside Finland, you must notify Kela.
Use this calculator to see whether you qualify for a student loan tax deduction.
You must complete your degree within a target time
You only get the student loan tax deduction if you complete your degree with a specified target time. The target time depends on the degree you are studying for.
Kela considers your period of study to begin at the beginning of the term when you first accept a place of study in any higher education institution. The studies are considered to have started
- on 1 January if you are first admitted to a programme that begins in the spring term (1 January-31 July)
- on 1 August if you are first admitted to a programme that begins in the autumn term (1 August-31 December).
The period of study ends on the last day of the term in which you complete a degree. The studies are considered to have ended
- on 31 July if you graduate in the spring term (1 January-31 July)
- on 31 December if you graduate in the autumn term (1 August-31 December).
The period of study also includes terms in which you register as non-attending or interrupt your studies.
|Extent of the degree programme in credits||Target time|
|300||7 academic years|
|330||7.5 academic years|
|360||8 academic years|
If you complete a master's level university degree exclusively, the target time depends on the combined extent of the bachelor's and master's programmes.
|Extent of the degree programme in credits||Target time|
|180||4 academic years|
|210||4.5 academic years|
|240||5 academic years|
|270||5.5 academic years|
Keep in mind that the time to complete a degree is counted from the beginning of your first course of study in higher education and that any terms in which you are non-attending or interrupt your study count towards the time to complete a degree.
If you do not complete a degree within the target time, you may still be eligible for a student loan tax deduction if there is an acceptable reason for your failing to meet academic progress requirements. Such acceptable reasons are
- performing conscript, alternative or voluntary military service for at least one month during the time qualifying the student for a student loan tax deduction
- providing care for a child, but only if you have received maternity, paternity or parental allowance for at least one month during the time qualifying you for a student loan tax deduction. Receiving child home care allowance payments is not an acceptable reason.
- a period of illness, but only if you have received sickness allowance, infectious disease allowance or rehabilitation subsidy, pension or compensation on account of full incapacity for work for at least one month during the time qualifying you for a student loan tax deduction.
- delays in the studies due to the coronavirus epidemic.
A period of service or payment of an allowance lasting at least one month during a single academic term extends the target time by 0.5 academic years. Term dates are 1 January - 31 July and 1 August - 31 December. The target time cannot be extended by more than 0.5 academic years even if you have had several periods of service or payment of an allowance during a single term.
If the period of service or payment of an allowance lasts at least one month, but not within any individual term, the target time can still be extended by 0.5 academic years.Due to child care, the target time can be extended without any limitations, but only for the time you have received maternity, paternity or parental allowance. For any other benefits or periods of service, the target time can usually be extended by a maximum of two academic years.
If your graduation was delayed because of the coronavirus epidemic, it is possible to extend the target time to qualify for a student loan tax deduction.
If you did not graduate within the target time to qualify for student loan tax deduction, you will receive a negative decision proposal from Kela. If your graduation was delayed because of the coronavirus epidemic, submit a request to Kela to review the decision. In the request, explain how the coronavirus epidemic affected the completion of the study units required for the degree and thus delayed your studies. State in the request
- what studies were affected by the delay and
- how the coronavirus epidemic delayed your studies.
You can write the request in your own words. You do not need to enclose any certificates with your request. The reasons for a delay in your studies may for have to do with the study arrangements, with travel restrictions or other government recommendations, or with you or your family member's health or general life situation.
The target time can be extended by up to 0.5 or 1 academic year because of the coronavirus epidemic.
If you completed a higher education degree in the autumn term of 2020 (1 August 2020 to 31 December 2020), and your graduation was delayed because of the epidemic, you can get an extension of 0.5 academic years to your target time to qualify for the student loan tax deduction.
If you completed or will complete a higher education degree in or after 2021, and your graduation was delayed because of the epidemic, you can get an extension of 1 academic years to your target time to qualify for the student loan tax deduction.
Requesting a review
If you exceed the target time, you will receive a preliminary decision Kela telling you that you are not granted a student loan tax deduction. If you have an acceptable reason for taking longer than the target time, you can ask Kela to review your case again. You must ask for a review within 30 days of the date on which you received the proposed decision. Detailed instructions are provided in the proposed decision and the document enclosed with it.
The request for a review must be made in writing, but there are no other formal requirements. You can make the request by sending a message in the OmaKela e-service. Alternatively, you can mail the request and any supporting documents to Kela, PL 10, 00056 KELA.Do as follows:
- Request a review in the OmaKela e-service Log in using your online bank credentials or a mobile ID.
- Go to Viestit (Messages). Under Aihe (Topic), select Opiskelijan asiat (Student matters) and then Opintotuki (Student financial aid). By selecting the topic accurately, you can help to speed up the processing of your case. You should not, for example, select ‘Liikamaksut ja perintäasiat’ (Overpayment and recovery) or ‘Muu asia’ (Other) as the topic of your message. Also do not select ‘Muutoksenhaku- tai valitusasia’ (Appeal or complaint).
- Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them in the OmaKela e-service. You do not have to send documentation about benefits you may have received from Kela.
Kela will process your request for a review and give you a new decision. The new decision can be appealed to the Student Financial Aid Review Board.