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If you study abroad

You can get financial aid abroad in the following situations:

  • You are completing a course of study abroad.
  • A period of study or job training abroad is part of a course of study you are completing in Finland.

Have you moved abroad from Finland? Read more about your entitlement to social security coverage.

Completing an entire course of study abroad

The study programme must be full-time and comparable with a course of study in Finland that would qualify you for financial aid.

Studies completed at a foreign educational institution are considered full-time studies if the educational institution has defined them as being full-time studies. Studies at an institute of higher education can also be considered full-time studies if the extent of the studies is on average at least 5 credits per month of studies. Other types of studies can also be considered full-time studies if the extent of the studies according to the study plan is on average at least 25 hours per week.

Further, the educational institution must be supervised by public authorities. This means that it is subsidised by the state, supervised by the educational authorities or accredited by an accreditation agency. Also a private educational institution can be supervised by public authorities.

You cannot get financial aid in the following situations:

  • You are pursuing studies entirely through distance learning.
  • You are attending a programme preparing you for university study.
  • You are completing an individual course.
  • You participate in a language course.
  • You have not been granted the right to study towards a degree by your educational institution.
  • Your educational institution is a registered company.
  • You get financial aid from abroad.

Finnish nationals

If you are a Finnish national you can get financial aid for foreign study

  • provided that you have had a municipality of residence in Finland for at least 2 years out of the 5 years preceding the beginning of study. This means that you begin your course of study less than 3 years after you moved abroad, or
  • provided that, on the basis of your living circumstances, you have close ties to Finland. Periods of residence in Finland, your family relations, livelihood, occupational and other corresponding circumstances will be taken into consideration. Your case will be determined based on an overall evaluation of your circumstances.

Foreign nationals

If you are not a Finnish national, you cannot usually get financial aid for a course of study completed entirely abroad.

However, you can be eligible for financial aid if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • you have an EU citizen's permanent right of residence in Finland
  • you have a permanent right of residence in Finland as defined in the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom
  • you are an employee as defined in the EU legislation or in the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom, or such an employee's family member

If you are an employee as defined in the EU legislation or in the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom, or such an employee's family member, you must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • You work in Finland for at least 4 months and on average at least 10 hours per week, or you have taken out compulsory pension insurance for self-employed persons. The right to financial aid only covers the period of employment.
  • You are the family member of an EU or EEA citizen, of a Swiss citizen or of a UK national who is covered by the withdrawal agreement, and that person works in Finland. A family member of a Finnish citizen is only considered to be the family member of an EU employee when the Finnish citizen has moved to another EU country and returns to work in Finland.

In addition, you must always meet one of the following criteria:

  • you have had a municipality of residence in Finland for at least 2 years out of the 5 years preceding the beginning of study, or
  • on the basis of your living circumstances, you have close ties to Finland, in which case your family relations, livelihood, occupational and other corresponding circumstances will be taken into consideration.

Also remember the following requirements regarding the studies:

  • If you are an employee within the meaning of the EU provisions, your course of study must be closely related to work you perform in Finland, or you must have become unemployed in Finland through no fault of your own. As an employee you can only get financial aid for vocational study for example in an institute of vocational education, for degree-oriented study in a university, or for the attainment of basic or advanced vocational qualifications.
  • If you are the family member of someone who is an employee within the meaning of the EU provisions, you can get financial aid for all types of education covered under the same conditions as Finnish nationals, as long as your legal guardian retains employee status in Finland.

Completing part of a degree abroad

You can get financial aid abroad if your course of study or period of job training abroad is a recognised part of a course of study you are completing in Finland. You can gain access to education or training abroad through an exchange programme or find it yourself.

If you are in upper secondary school, you usually cannot get financial aid for a year as an exchange student or other period of study abroad because the studies are not recognised as part of the Finnish upper secondary school curriculum. However, financial aid may be available if you have a certificate from a Finnish upper secondary school stating that the foreign study is accepted as equivalent to at least 10 courses or at least 20 credits.

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Last modified 12/7/2023

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