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Study progress and how it is monitored

You must make satisfactory progress with your studies in order to get financial aid for students. Your progress is regarded as satisfactory if the time you take to complete your full-time studies is not significantly longer than the time for which financial aid is available in your programme.

Kela monitors study progress annually for students in upper secondary education and higher education. If you have not made satisfactory progress, we will send you a request for further information. Students are advised to reply to the request for information and explain the reasons for the lack of progress. Read more on how to reply to a request for information.

If you do not reply or if the reasons you provide for your lack of study progress are not accepted, we may have to discontinue your financial aid. If it is necessary to monitor your study progress particularly closely, we may have to change your financial aid to be paid out for a specified period of time only. We may also require you to pay back financial aid if you have earned particularly few credits and you never intended to study, for instance if you are working instead.

Study progress

The requirements for study progress are different for upper secondary education and higher education.

In upper secondary education, you are considered to make satisfactory study progress if you are a full-time student and the time you take to complete your studies is not significantly longer than the time for which financial aid is available in your programme. Financial aid is available for 4 months if you are studying for a vocational upper secondary qualification or you attend general upper secondary school. After that, you can apply for additional financial aid for a period of up to 12 months.

Your study progress in higher education is considered sufficient if you meet both of the following requirements:

  • You complete at least 5 credits on average for each month of financial aid for students.
  • You complete at least 20 credits in each academic year, i.e. the minimum number of credits required per academic year.

A month of financial aid is a month for which you have been paid either a study grant, a housing supplement, or both. Months for which you have returned financial aid, or for which you have been required to pay back financial aid, are not considered as months of financial aid. A month during which you have only received general housing allowance is also not considered as a month of financial aid.

The number of months of financial aid does not affect the minimum requirement for study progress. Even if you have received financial aid for only one month within a single academic year, you must still complete at least 20 credits.

The minimum requirement for progress does not apply to the first academic year of any course of study that begins in the spring term (1 January–31 July). The minimum requirement also does not apply to the academic year in which you complete your higher education degree.

Even if you have not earned at least 5 credits per each month of financial aid in the academic year under review (1 August–31 July), you may still be able to get financial aid if you have earned at least 5 credits per month during your entire course of study. However, in such a case you must have earned at least 20 credits during the academic year under review.

Example of study progress in higher education

A student earned 40 credits in the academic year under review (1 August–31 July) and has received financial aid payments for nine months. Over their entire course of study, the student has earned a total of 140 credits and taken out student financial aid for 27 months.

The student thus earned at least 20 credits during the academic year under review and therefore satisfies the minimum requirement for progress.

However, the student has only earned 4.4 credits on average for each month of financial aid in the academic year under review. Because this is less than 5 credits per month of financial aid, Kela checks the total number of credits earned over the entire course of study.

The check shows that the student has earned 5.2 credits on average for each month of financial aid during the entire course of study. Because this is more than 5 credits per month of financial aid, the student is deemed to have made sufficient academic progress. This means that Kela does not send the student a request for further information, and that payment of the student financial aid continues.

 

Monitoring of study progress

The way study progress is monitored is different for upper secondary education and higher education.

If you are completing a vocational upper secondary qualification or the general upper secondary school curriculum, we will check in September every year if you have made sufficient study progress.

When monitoring your study progress, we look at your academic progress in the previous academic year, which is also the academic year under review (1 August–31 July). If you are completing a dual degree, your progress in both programmes is recognised.

Example of the monitoring of study progress in upper secondary education

A student is completing a vocational upper secondary qualification. In September 2023, Kela monitors the student’s progress during the academic year 2022-2023, taking into account the ECVET points earned between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023. If Kela assesses on the basis of the ECVET points earned that the student will not graduate in 4 years, Kela will send the student a request for information on the study progress.

If you are pursuing other studies at the upper secondary level, your school will monitor your study progress. If your school discovers that you are not making sufficient progress, it will notify Kela.

If you are completing a higher education degree, we will check in October every year if you have made sufficient study progress. When monitoring your study progress, we look at your academic progress in the previous academic year, which is also the academic year under review (1 August–31 July), and during the entire time you have studied at a higher education institution.

We take into account all the study credits you have earned in Finnish higher education institutions and all the months of financial aid for students you have used from the start of your higher education studies. However, we do not take into account studies from before 1 August 2011. Studies completed at a foreign higher education institution are taken into account if they have been registered at a Finnish institution of higher education.

The credits are taken into account according to their original completion date. If a course you have completed earlier is taken into account as part of your new studies, we will consider the original completion date of the course as the completion date.

If study credits that you have earned in June or July are entered in the study record for the autumn term, we can take them into account if you provide information about the date of completion. Credits earned in the autumn term, i.e. as of 1 August, count towards the next academic year's study progress.

Study credits earned at an open university are also taken into account, if you have earned them after starting your degree studies at an institution of higher education. Study credits earned before the start of the degree studies at an institution of higher education (for example, path studies) are not taken into account when monitoring study progress.

Monitoring of study progress if you have completed a higher education degree

If you complete a higher education degree during the academic year under review or in the autumn before monitoring begins, you have made sufficient progress in your studies.

If you have completed a higher education degree earlier, i.e. before the academic year under review, your study credits and months of financial aid are taken into account for the time following the month when you completed the degree.

Example of how study progress is monitored when a higher education degree has been completed

A student completes a Bachelor’s degree in November 2021 and continues their studies towards a Master’s degree. When the study progress for the academic year 2021–2022 is monitored in October 2022, the student has made sufficient progress in their studies thanks to having completed a higher education degree during the academic year under review.

When the study progress for the academic year 2022–2023 is monitored in October 2023, the student’s study credits and months of financial aid are taken into account for the period after the month of completing the Bachelor’s degree, i.e. 1 December 2021–31 July 2023.

Cancelling or paying back financial aid voluntarily in higher education

If you wish to reduce the number of months of financial aid that are taken into account when monitoring your study progress, you can cancel financial aid or return financial aid that you have already received.

If you have completed less than 20 credits (the minimum requirement) during the academic year and you have no acceptable reason for your slow progress, it makes no difference to the monitoring of study progress if you repay months of financial aid unless you repay all the financial aid you received during the academic year.

If the academic year during which you have fallen behind with your studies has not yet ended, we recommend that you cancel your financial aid.

What to do if you want to repay financial aid after you have already received a request for information.

If you do not make satisfactory study progress

If you have not made satisfactory progress, we will send you a request for further information. How to reply to a request for information.

Acceptable reasons for slower study progress

When monitoring study progress in upper secondary and higher education, we take into account certain situations in life that can be considered acceptable reasons for slower study progress. If you have made slower progress because of an acceptable reason, you may still continue to receive financial aid.

Acceptable reasons for slower study progress include

  • an illness suffered by yourself or by a close family member
  • other difficult personal circumstances
  • completing a particularly large study module (such as a thesis).

Other reasons which may be accepted include the interruption of your studies because of the birth of a child or the performance of compulsory military service, alternative civilian service or women's voluntary armed service. Payment of financial aid may continue if one of the following is true:

  • You began to receive daily allowances for parents or started service by January, and the allowance or service lasted throughout the spring term.
  • You received daily allowances for parents or did service for the entire autumn term, and the allowance or service ended sometime during the spring term.
Last modified 12/12/2023

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