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Amount and payment of the student loan compensation

The student loan compensation is equal to 40 percent of the amount of outstanding student debt exceeding EUR 2,500. This means that you must have taken out more than EUR 2,500 in student loans to qualify for a compensation.

There is a maximum limit to the amount of student loan compensation you can get. The limit depends on the extent of your degree. For example, you can receive student loan compensation for a degree completed in Finland to a maximum of

  • EUR 6,200 if your degree includes 300 credits
  • EUR 4,120 if your degree includes 210 credits.

There is also a maximum limit to the amount of student loan for which you can get student loan compensation. You can also take out a higher amount of student loan per month or per academic year than the amount taken into account for the student loan compensation. In such a case, you will receive compensation for the maximum amount of student loan taken into account, but not for the exceeding amount.

Read more about the maximum amount of student loan compensation.

Calculate the amount of the student loan compensation that may be available to you

Use this calculator to see how much student loan compensation you can get.

To calculator (in Finnish)

We only take into account government-guaranteed student loans in accordance with the Act on Student Financial Aid.

You will receive a compensation for the student loans you have taken out during higher education studies begun on or after 1 August 2014. Interest payments added to the principal amount of the loan are not counted as part of the loan. If you have student debt for earlier secondary-level studies, that debt is also not included.

We will recognise your student loan according to its balance on the last day of the semester of graduation. If you make repayments on your loan while you are still a student, that may reduce your student loan compensation. This means that it is generally not in your interest to start paying back student loan during your studies or during the term in which you graduate. The spring term ends on 31 July and the autumn term on 31 December. Check the table to see at what amount of student loan debt you qualify for the full student loan compensation.

Example of amount of student loan compensation when student loan has been paid back during the period of study

A university student completes a 300-credit degree programme in the target time. In the course of her higher education studies, she takes out EUR 20,000 in student loan and pays back EUR 5,000 of it. She has EUR 15,000 in remaining student loan debt at the end of the term in which she graduates.

For a 300-credit master's degree, the maximum student loan amount taken into account in the student loan compensation is EUR 18,000. As the amount of student loan she has is less than the maximum amount taken into account in the student loan compensation, the student loan she paid back during her studies reduces the amount of student loan compensation granted to her. She is granted a student loan compensation of EUR 5,000 ((15,000 – 2,500) x 40 %).

If she had paid back no more than EUR 2,000 during her studies, she would have been able to get the maximum amount of the student loan compensation available for her degree, amounting to EUR 6,000 ((18,000 – 2,500) x 40 %).

Maximum amount

The student loan compensation has a maximum amount based on the extent of the study programme.

Bachelor's + master's level university degree, or master's level university degree exclusively, completed in Finland
Extent of the degree programme in creditsMaximum amount of loan recognised, EURMaximum student loan compensation, EUR
30018,0006,200
33020,0007,000
36021,6007,640
Degree earned in a university of applied sciences degree or bachelor's level university degree, completed in Finland
Extent of the degree programme in creditsMaximum amount of loan recognised, EURMaximum student loan compensation, EUR
18010,8003,320
21012,8004,120
24014,4004,760
27016,4005,560

The maximum amount of the student loan compensation is calculated so that nine months' worth of loan is recognised for each academic year and five months are recognised for each term. The amounts of student loan debt taken into account when calculating the compensation are

  • EUR 400 per month for degrees completed in a Finnish institution of higher education
  • EUR 700 per month for degrees completed in a foreign institution of higher education.

If you attend a university and complete degrees both in Finland and abroad, see Higher education degrees completed in Finland and abroad for more information on how your student loan compensation is calculated.

However, the amounts of the instalments of student loan that you take out or when you take out the instalments are not significant. We take into account all student loans taken out during the higher education studies in full, but as regards the total amount only up to the maximum amount of student loan.

Example of calculating the amount of student loan compensation

A student of a university of applied sciences completes a 210-credit degree programme in the target time. She has EUR 16,020 in student debt at the end of the term in which she graduates. Loans taken out to finance secondary studies preceding the higher education studies (EUR 4,400 in total) and the interest payments capitalised, i.e., added to the principal amount of the loan (EUR 440), are deducted from EUR 16,020. The amount of student loans taken out during the higher education studies is EUR 11,180.

The amount of loan per degree corresponding to the target time to degree (3.5 academic years) is (3.0 acad. yrs x 9 mths/acad.yr + 5 mths) x EUR 400 per month = EUR 12,800. The student loan compensation is calculated on the basis of the student's actual loan amount because it is smaller. The compensation comes to (11,180 - 2,500) x 40% = EUR 3,472.

Higher education degree completed abroad

If you earn a higher-education degree outside Finland, the maximum student loan compensation is larger. If you complete a master's degree outside Finland where the standard time to degree is 5 years,

  • the maximum amount of loan recognised is EUR 31,500 and
  • the maximum student loan compensation is EUR 11,600.

Example: Bachelor’s level university degree completed abroad

If you complete a three-year bachelor’s level university degree consisting of 180 credits at a foreign higher education institution, the maximum student loan compensation is 6,560 euros. If you wish to receive a student loan compensation for a bachelor’s level university degree, you must apply for it yourself. Read about applying for a student loan compensation for a bachelor’s level university degree.

Higher education degrees completed in Finland and abroad

Student loan compensation is calculated on a degree-specific basis if you attend a university and

  • complete a bachelor's degree abroad and a master's degree in Finland
  • complete a bachelor’s degree in Finland and a master’s degree abroad.

In this case, the maximum amount of loan recognised is calculated separately for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The maximum amounts of student loan debt recognised when calculating the compensation are 400 euros per month for degrees completed in a Finnish higher education institution and 700 euros per month for degrees completed in a foreign higher education institution.

Example: University degrees completed in Finland and abroad

A student completes a bachelor’s degree at a foreign higher education institution. The target time for the degree is 3 academic years. The maximum amount of student loan recognised is 18,900 euros (3 x 9 months x 700 euros per month).

After this, the student completes a master’s degree at a Finnish higher education institution. The degree consists of 120 credits and the target time for it is 2 academic years. The maximum amount of loan recognised is 7,200 euros (2 x 9 months x 400 euros per month).

Therefore, the combined maximum amount of student loans recognised is 26,100 euros.

If the student takes out at least 26,100 euros in student loans while completing these degrees, she can get a student loan compensation of 9,440 euros ((26,100 – 2,500) x 40%).

Kela will always calculate the maximum amount of loan recognised on the basis of the first completed degree. For example, if you complete two bachelor’s degrees, one in Finland and another one abroad, the maximum amount of student loan debt and student loan compensation is calculated on the basis of the degree which you complete first. For which of the studies you receive student financial aid or take out a student loan does not matter.

However, completing exchange studies or other study units abroad does not increase the maximum amount of debt recognised. For degrees completed at Finnish higher education institutions, the amount of debt recognised is always the Finnish amount (400 euros per month), even if you complete exchange studies at a foreign higher education institution and take out student loans for foreign study while completing your degree.

Student loan compensation may be calculated incorrectly

If Kela gives you a decision on student loan compensation and you think the amount of compensation is incorrect, send a message to Kela. Log in to the OmaKela e-service using your online banking credentials or a mobile ID. Go to Viestit (Messages). Under Aihe (Topic), select Opiskelijan asiat (Student matters) and then Opintolainahyvitys (Student loan compensation).

If you complete a bachelor’s level university degree abroad and a master’s level university degree in Finland, we will review your decision automatically. If the amount of compensation changes, you will get a new decision on student loan compensation.

If you complete one of your bachelor’s and master’s level university degrees in Finland and the other one abroad, you cannot use the student loan compensation calculator to calculate the amount of compensation. You can still use the calculator to estimate the target time in which you must complete the bachelor’s and master’s degree to qualify for a student loan compensation.

Payment

Kela cannot make a decision on the student loan compensation until Kela has received information on the amount of your student loan from the bank.

  • Degree completed in the spring term 1 January-1 July: the decision is usually made and the student loan compensation paid in November.
  • Degree completed in the autumn term 1 August-31 December: the decision is usually made and the student loan compensation paid in April.

You do not generally have to apply for a student loan compensation. Read more about the situations in which you must apply for the student loan compensation.

Kela usually pays the student loan compensation directly to the bank, which means that it pays back your loan by an amount corresponding to the compensation.

The compensation can be paid differently in the following situations:

  • If Kela has repaid your student loans to the bank in its capacity as the loan guarantor, the student loan compensation will first be applied towards the student loan which is being collected by Kela.
  • If you have student debt with several banks or on several promissory notes, the student loan compensation will be applied towards the loan with the largest principal amount.
  • If you have student debt which is being collected by Kela and you have paid back all of your student loans held by banks, Kela pays the student loan compensation to you personally.

Taxation

The student loan compensation is not subject to tax.

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