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Healthcare fee for students in higher education

Students attending a traditional university or a university of applied sciences must pay a healthcare fee to Kela. The fee must be paid for each term. Kela does not send a bill for the fee, so students must make sure to pay it on their own initiative. You can pay the healthcare fee via Kela’s e-service OmaKela (available in Finnish and Swedish only).

Kela sends a letter with payment instructions before the due date for payment to students who are required to pay the fee but have not paid it. This letter is sent twice a year, approximately three weeks before the due date of the fee. If you have updated your information in OmaKela to go paperless, you will receive a text message or email when the letter is available to read in OmaKela.

Learn more about letting Kela know that you want to receive the information letter in OmaKela only (in Finnish).

If you are completing a higher education degree and are registered as attending, you have the right to use the services of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS).

Read more about the payment of the healthcare fee and the due dates for payment.

Who must pay the healthcare fee for students in higher education?

The obligation to pay the healthcare fee for students in higher education only depends on the degree/qualification pursued, registration as attending, and the country in which you have social security coverage. No other factors are relevant. You must pay the fee even if you do not receive student financial aid or if you use occupational or other health services instead of the FSHS.

You must pay the healthcare fee if you are registered as attending, and

  • you study at a university of applied sciences and you are completing a bachelor’s or master’s level degree or a bachelor’s level degree at the Police University College
  • you study at a university and you are completing a bachelor's or a master's degree
  • you study in the Executive Assistance Programme at the National Defence University, i.e. you are a civilian student at the National Defence University.

The student healthcare fee and graduating midway through the academic year

If you graduate in the autumn term, you do not have to pay the healthcare fee for the following spring term. You are then not entitled to use the services of the FSHS in the spring term.

If you complete your studies in the autumn term but do not graduate and receive your diploma until the spring term, you do have to pay the healthcare fee for the spring term. In that case, you will be entitled to use the services of the FSHS until the end of the spring term.

See who must pay the healthcare fee.

Who does not have to pay the healthcare fee?

You do not have to pay the healthcare fee if

  • you have registered as non-attending for the term
  • you have come as an exchange student to Finland from another country and you are not completing a degree or qualification at a Finnish higher education institution
  • you study at an open university of applied sciences
  • you study at an open university
  • you study at Högskolan på Åland
  • you study for a postgraduate degree (for instance licentiate or doctor's degree)
  • you study to become an officer at the National Defence University
  • you complete non-degree oriented studies at a higher education institution (for instance continuing education or specialisation studies or a separate study module)
  • you participate in a tailor-made, customer-specific training programme
  • you complete a master’s level degree at the Police University College
  • you have social security coverage from another EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Great Britain or Northern Ireland
  • you have social security coverage from the EU.

If you are not liable to pay the fee, you are also not entitled to use FSHS services. The exception to this is if you have social security coverage from another EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Great Britain or Northern Ireland. In this case, you can use FSHS services even if you do not pay the healthcare fee.

Find out how to proceed if you have social security coverage from another EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

Student healthcare fee and international situations

In international situations, the obligation to pay the student healthcare fee depends on whether you are completing a degree at a Finnish higher education institution or are an exchange student. The obligation to pay the fee is further affected by the country in which you have social security coverage.

Foreign students in Finland

If you are enrolled in a degree programme at a Finnish higher education institution and have registered as attending, you must pay the healthcare fee. You must pay the fee even if you are studying remotely and are not based in Finland. The exception to this is if you have social security coverage from another EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Great Britain or Northern Ireland. In this case, you do not have to pay the fee, but you can still use FSHS services. However, in such cases you should contact Kela.

Find out how to proceed if you have social security coverage in another EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

If you are a foreign exchange student, you are not completing a degree at a Finnish higher education institution. In that case, you do not have to pay the healthcare fee. However, you are not entitled to use the services of the FSHS.

You must pay the healthcare fee if you come to Finland from a country outside the EU to complete a degree here This applies even if you have taken out private health insurance to satisfy the requirements for obtaining a residence permit, for instance health insurance from Swisscare. If you have a private health insurance taken out for the purposes of obtaining a residence permit, that does not mean that you have social security coverage in the EU.

Going abroad as an exchange student

If you are completing a degree at a Finnish institution of higher education, have registered as attending, and go on a student exchange abroad, you must pay the healthcare fee for the duration of the study abroad.

If you visit Finland during the study abroad, you can use the services of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS).

Amount and payment of the healthcare fee

In 2023 and 2024, the student healthcare fee in higher education is EUR 36.80 per term.

The fee is paid to Kela for both the spring and the autumn term. You are not billed for the fee, but are expected to pay it unprompted. The amount that must be paid is defined in a Government Decree and may vary from year to year.

You can pay the fee even if you have not yet registered as attending.

The healthcare fee is confirmed on a calendar year basis. This means that, in spring 2024, you can pay the fee for both the spring and the autumn term 2024.

Read more about the payment of the healthcare fee and the due dates for payment.

The healthcare fee can be taken into account in connection with the basic social assistance or as a rehabilitation expense

If you receive social assistance, the healthcare fee can be counted as an expense for purposes of basic social assistance. Learn more about basic social assistance awarded for healthcare costs.

If you have been granted access to education in the form of vocational rehabilitation provided by Kela, you can be granted reimbursement for the healthcare fee for students in higher education as a necessary educational expense. You must first pay the healthcare fee yourself. You can then apply for reimbursement for the healthcare fee as a rehabilitation expense.

Apply for reimbursement by sending a message in the OmaKela e-service. Under ‘Aihe’ select Kuntoutus (rehabilitation) and then under ‘Tarkenne’ Kuntoutusmaksu (rehabilitation expense). You do not have to submit a proof of payment. If you cannot use the OmaKela e-service, you can apply for reimbursement by calling Kela’s customer service number for rehabilitation matters 020 634 2650.

What if you don’t pay the fee?

If you do not pay the healthcare fee by the due date, Kela will send you a reminder. If you pay the fee after the due date, Kela will charge a fixed late-payment fee of EUR 5.

If you still do not pay the healthcare fee after having received a reminder, Kela can withhold the fee and the late-payment fee from your study grant payments without first consulting you. If the healthcare fee cannot be withheld from the study grant payments, it will be referred to the enforcement authority for collection.

If you have received a letter reminding you to pay the healthcare fee but you have social security coverage from another EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Great Britain or Northern Ireland, contact Kela’s Overpayment Recovery Centre (About Kela section).

See how to pay the healthcare fee.

Student health services for students in higher education

The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) provides student healthcare services for higher education students in Finland. For more information on the services available from the FSHS, see its website (yths.fi).

You are entitled to use the student healthcare services to the end of the term for which you have registered as attending. If you graduate during the term, you are entitled to use the student healthcare services to the end of the term in question. See who are entitled to use the FSHS services.

You can apply to Kela for reimbursement for travel costs for trips that you have made to an FSHS service point in order to get student healthcare services. Read more information about the reimbursement of travel costs.

Read more

Last modified 16/2/2024

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