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Amount and payment of school transport subsidy

The amount of the school transport subsidy depends on your travel distance to school and the means of transport you use, i.e. how you travel to school. The amount of the subsidy depends on whether you are entitled to free education. Starting from 1 August 2021, you can get school transport subsidy even if you do not make a daily trip to school.

  • If you travel to school on 15 days or more per calendar month, you can get the full rate of the school transport subsidy.
  • If you travel on 10 to 14 days per calendar month, you are entitled to school transport subsidy, but it is half the full amount.
  • If you travel to school on less than 10 days per calendar month, you are not entitled to school transport subsidy.

The days on which you travel to your school or workplace during a calendar month are counted as your travel days. A travel day may also fall on a weekend or an official holiday, if you travel to school on such a day. Only the travel days are counted, not the number of single or return trips to or from school. You can travel to and from school any time during the calendar month.

Depending on your mode of transport, Kela will pay the subsidy either to the transport operator or to yourself. If paid to yourself, the subsidy is deposited in your account on the 1st day of each month or the immediately following banking day. If you are paid the subsidy retrospectively, it will as a rule be paid into your account two banking days after the decision was issued.

Who is entitled to free education?

You are entitled to free education if you meet both of the following requirements:

  • You have left comprehensive school in 2021 or later.
  • You were born in 2004 or later.

Please note that even if you meet the above criteria, not all educational programmes are free. Check with your school whether your education is free. 

Students entitled to free education

If you take public transport or dedicated school transport to school then, as a rule, you do not need to pay anything for the ticket yourself. Kela will pay the price of the ticket to the ticket office, the transport operator or to yourself. For example with VR trains, you buy the ticket yourself and Kela will pay you school transport subsidy (see instructions).

Contact the ticket vendor if you have questions about subsidised tickets, such as where to buy tickets, how to load them to your card or device or what kinds of tickets are available.

Public transport

If you take public transport, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Public transport includes the following:

  • Waltti (Check the Waltti website (waltti.fi) or the city transport website to find out if your region is part of Waltti.)
  • Helsinki Region Transport (HSL - HRT)
  • Tampere Regional Transport (Nysse)
  • Turku Region Traffic (Föli)

The transport services in the Varsinais-Suomi and Satakunta regions, i.e. Seutu+ transport, are considered part of Waltti bus services in connection with the school transport subsidy as from 1 January 2024. Read the instructions on how to select the appropriate mode of transport in the online application.

If you apply in OmaKela, Kela can grant you the right to buy a subsidised ticket as soon as you submit the application. You can for instance buy your ticket in the ticket vendor’s online store. Vendor instructions for buying a ticket can be found on the Matkahuolto (matkahuolto.fi), Waltti (waltti.fi, in Finnish), HSL (hsl.fi), Nysse (nysse.fi) and Föli (föli.fi) websites.

If you use the application form KM 1e (PDF) to apply, Kela cannot grant you the right to buy a subsidised ticket until your application has been reviewed.

If you are entitled to free education, you do not have to pay for the ticket. The ticket office charges Kela for the amount of the school transport subsidy.

You can buy the ticket 14 days before your studies start. The last ticket for the school year must be loaded onto your card at least 14 days before the last day of school. After graduating or discontinuing your studies, you cannot load new tickets, but you can use up the remaining value on your card.

If you are entitled to free education, there is no minimum limit to the ticket price.

If you bought a ticket before applying for school transport subsidy or before you were granted the right to buy Kela-subsidised tickets, the school transport subsidy can be paid into your bank account afterwards. Kela can pay school transport subsidy for the least expensive ticket option available to the student. . If you bought a ticket before applying for school transport subsidy, state in the application how many full-price tickets you have bought and how much they cost. If you have bought single tickets, you must have at least 10 days’ worth of them. If you have already submitted an application for school transport subsidy and but have not yet been given the right to purchase tickets, you can buy your tickets at the regular price and have the subsidy deposited in your bank account afterwards. See how to request that the subsidy is deposited in your bank account.

Other public transport than Matkahuolto, Waltti, HSL, Nysse or Föli

If you use some other public transport than Matkahuolto, Waltti, HSL, Nysse or Föli, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. Indicate in the application the price of the ticket you are buying for your trips to school.

Other public transport includes VR trains and the municipal transport service of certain cities and towns.

If you use such services, you cannot buy a subsidised ticket in the same way you could if you used Matkahuolto, Waltti, HSL, Nysse or Föli. You must first pay the regular price, after which Kela will pay the subsidy into your bank account.

If you are entitled to free education, the subsidy equals the price of the ticket.

Kela pays the school transport subsidy into your bank account monthly.

Your school or municipal government can arrange transportation to and from school or buy tickets for you.

If you use dedicated school transport, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. In the application, specify ‘school transport’ as the transport method, even if you have received a ticket for your trip.

If you are entitled to free education, you do not have to pay for school transport. Kela pays the school transport subsidy directly to the operator. Remember to tell your school if you stop using dedicated school transport or if there are changes in your school transport subsidy.

Further information about dedicated school transport is provided by your school.

If public transport or dedicated school transport is not an option for you, you can travel to school for example in your own or a friend's car. You must, however, first check if it is possible for you to travel to and from school using public transport. Check the route planner used by Kela (kelareitit.digitransit.fi) for the length of your trip to school and whether public transport options are available.

You can get school transport subsidy for the use of your own mode of transport also in the following situations:

  • There is no public transport or dedicated school transport for a part of your trip exceeding 5 kilometres.
  • Your two-way trip takes longer than 3 hours a day when you take public transport or dedicated school transport. This includes both the waiting time and the actual travel time.
  • The trip to school is difficult for you for example because of illness, injury or daily childcare arrangements.
  • Your trip to school or your mode of transport changes several times per month or per school year.

If you use self-arranged transport, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. In the application, say why you are applying on the basis of self-arranged transport and why using public transport or dedicated school transport would be difficult or impossible.

The amount of the subsidy depends on the length of the trip (two way). You can get an estimate of the amount of the school transport subsidy using our calculator for school transport subsidy. Kela subsidises the cost of self-arranged transport to school up to a maximum distance of 100 kilometres per one-way trip. If your one-way trip is longer than 100 kilometres, you will have to cover the exceeding costs yourself.

Kela pays the school transport subsidy into your bank account monthly.

You may have to use several means of transport if you for instance first have to take a bus or arrange your own transport to the train station.

If you have to use several means of transport for your daily one-way trip to school, the school transport subsidy is determined and paid out for each part of the journey with a travel distance of at least 5 kilometres. If, for example, you first travel at least 5 kilometres by bus to the train station, and then travel at least 5 kilometres by train, you qualify for subsidy for both parts of the journey. 

If you use a different means of transport on the way to school than on the way home, or if the trips or the means of transport you use vary from week to week, you can be granted school transport subsidy for self-arranged transport.

Example

A student rides to school with her parents twice a week because of the lack of public transport options. She takes a Matkahuolto bus for the rest of her trips between home and school. She is granted school transport subsidy on the basis of self-arranged transport, and Kela pays the subsidy into her bank account after the fact. This means that she cannot buy subsidised tickets from Matkahuolto.

If you use several means of transport, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. In the application, list each leg of your trip to school. Describe how you travel each individual leg of the trip, and how long they are.

Kela pays the school transport subsidy into your bank account monthly. The decision notice you get will tell you how much your school transport subsidy is.

Other studies than those entitling to free education

If you take public transport to school, you will pay a maximum of EUR 21.40 per half a month for your ticket, and a maximum of EUR 43 per month for a one-month ticket. The exceeding part is paid by Kela in the form of school transport subsidy either to the transport operator or to yourself.

Matkahuolto buses or Waltti bus services

DIf you take public transport, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. Public transport includes the following:

  • Matkahuolto
  • Waltti (Check the Waltti website (waltti.fi) or the city transport website to find out if your region is part of Waltti.)
  • Helsinki Region Transport (HSL - HRT)
  • ampere Regional Transport (Nysse)
  • Turku Region Traffic (Föli)

Starting 1 January 2024, the transport services in the Varsinais-Suomi and Satakunta regions, i.e. Seutu+ transport, are considered part of Waltti bus services in connection with the school transport subsidy. Read the instructions on how to select the appropriate mode of transport in the online application.

If you apply in OmaKela, Kela can grant you the right to buy a subsidised ticket as soon as you submit the application. You can for instance buy your ticket in the ticket vendor’s online store.

If you use the application form KM 1e (PDF) to apply, Kela cannot grant you the right to buy a subsidised ticket until your application has been reviewed.

Your copayment for a half-month ticket is a maximum of EUR 21.40 per month and a maximum of EUR 43 per month for a one-month ticket. The ticket office charges Kela for the amount of the school transport subsidy.

You can buy the ticket 14 days before your studies start. The last ticket for the school year must be purchased at least 14 days before the last day of school. After graduating or discontinuing your studies, you cannot buy new tickets, but you can use up the remaining value on your card.

If you use Matkahuolto bus services, the price of a half-month ticket must be over EUR 27, and the price of a one-month ticket must be over EUR 54 for you to qualify for school transport subsidy. If the ticket costs EUR 27/EUR 54 or less, you do not qualify.

If you use Waltti bus services and the distance you travel is at least 10 kilometres, there is no minimum limit to the ticket price. In that case, you can get a voucher to buy a Waltti ticket even if the monthly ticket costs EUR 54 or less. Waltti bus services is a bus system set up by a number of Finnish towns and ELY Centres. Information for your own region is available on the Waltti website or on the public transport websites of the towns and cities.

If you bought a ticket before applying for school transport subsidy or before you were granted the right to buy Kela-subsidised tickets, the school transport subsidy can be paid into your bank account afterwards. Kela can pay school transport subsidy for the least expensive ticket option available to the student. In the application for school transport subsidy, indicate how many full-price tickets you have bought and how much they cost. You can also provide this information in OmaKela after you have submitted your application.

Other public transport than Matkahuolto, Waltti, HSL, Nysse or Föli 

If you use some other public transport than Matkahuolto, Waltti, HSL, Nysse or Föli, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Indicate in the application the price of the ticket you are buying for your trips to school. 

Other public transport includes VR trains and the municipal transport service of certain cities and towns.
If you use such services, you cannot buy a subsidised ticket in the same way you could if you used Matkahuolto, Waltti, HSL, Nysse or Föli. You must first pay the regular price, after which Kela will deposit the subsidy in your bank account.

You qualify for the school transport subsidy if the half-month ticket costs over EUR 27 and the one-month ticket over EUR 54. If the ticket costs EUR 27/EUR 54 or less, you do not qualify.

Kela pays the school transport subsidy into your bank account monthly. The amount of the subsidy is calculated by deducting a copayment of EUR 21.50 from the price of the cheapest half-month ticket available to students, and a copayment of EUR 43 from the price of a one-month ticket.

Your school or municipal government can arrange transportation to and from school or buy tickets for you. If you use dedicated school transport, you will have to pay a maximum of EUR 21.50 per month to the transport operator if you have 10 to 14 travel days per calendar month, and a maximum of EUR 43 per month if you have 15 or more travel days per calendar month.

Check with your school if dedicated school transport is available.

If you use dedicated school transport, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. In the application, specify ‘school transport’ as the transport method, even if you have received a ticket for your trip.

Because the school transport subsidy is paid to the transport operator, remember to tell your school if you stop using dedicated school transport or if there are changes in your school transport subsidy.

Further information about dedicated school transport is provided by your school.

If public transport or dedicated school transport is not an option for you, you can travel to school for example in your own or a friend's car. You must, however, first check if it is possible for you to travel to and from school using public transport. Check the route planner used by Kela (kelareitit.digitransit.fi) for the length of your trip to school and whether public transport options are available.

You can get school transport subsidy for the use of your own means of transport also in the following situations:

  • There is no public transport or dedicated school transport for a part of your trip exceeding 5 kilometres.
  • Your two-way trip takes longer than 3 hours a day when you take public transport or dedicated school transport. This includes both the waiting time and the actual travel time.
  • The trip to school is difficult for you for example because of illness, injury or daily childcare arrangements.
  • Your trip to school or your mode of transport changes several times per month or per school year.

If you use self-arranged transport, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. In the application, say why you are applying on the basis of self-arranged transport and why using public transport or dedicated school transport would be difficult or impossible.

The amount of the subsidy depends on the length of the trip (two way). You can get an estimate of the amount of the school transport subsidy using our calculator for school transport subsidy. Kela subsidises the cost of self-arranged transport to school up to a maximum distance of 100 kilometres per one-way trip. If your one-way trip is longer than 100 kilometres, you will have to cover the exceeding costs yourself.

Kela pays the school transport subsidy into your bank account monthly.

You may have to use several means of transport if you for instance first have to take a bus or arrange your own transport to the train station.

If you have to use several means of transport for your daily one-way trip to school, the school transport subsidy is determined and paid out for each part of the journey with a travel distance of at least 5 kilometres. If, for example, you first travel at least 5 kilometres by bus to the train station, and then travel at least 5 kilometres by train, you qualify for subsidy for both parts of the journey. 

If you use a different means of transport on the way to school than on the way home, or if the means of transport you use vary from week to week, you can be granted school transport subsidy for self-arranged transport.

Example

A student rides to school with her parents twice a week because of the lack of public transport options. She takes a Matkahuolto bus for the rest of her trips between home and school. She is granted school transport subsidy on the basis of self-arranged transport, and Kela pays the subsidy into her bank account after the fact. This means that she cannot buy subsidised tickets from Matkahuolto.

If you use several means of transport, apply for school transport subsidy in the OmaKela e-service or use the application form. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. In the application, list each leg of your trip to school. Describe how you travel each individual leg of the trip, and how long they are.

Kela pays the school transport subsidy into your bank account monthly. The decision notice will tell you how much you school transport subsidy you will get.

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