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Frequently asked questions about student loans

It is a good idea to apply for a government loan guarantee at the same time as you apply for student financial aid. Higher education students who get a study grant qualify automatically for the loan guarantee. It is possible to apply for the loan guarantee afterwards as well by filing a notification of changes.

If you get a student loan guarantee from Kela, you can apply for a student loan at any bank of your choice. Take a look at the bank’s instructions for applying for a student loan for example by visiting its website. The bank decides whether to give you a loan.

Once the loan guarantee has been approved, students can contact a bank of their choice for a student loan. It is a good idea to contact several banks for a loan offer, because the terms of the loan may vary. You should study the terms and conditions of the loan carefully. The rate of interest payable on the loan and the timing of the repayment are agreed between the student and the lending bank.

The financial aid decision notifying that the loan guarantee has been approved will tell the maximum amount of loan that can be taken out and when. The student can decide whether to take out the maximum amount or less. A student loan approved for a specific academic year must be taken out during that year, usually by the end of July.

You can look up your financial aid decision in the OmaKela e-service. You can also see your loan details, for example the student loans that are available for disbursement.

You can get a government guarantee for a student loan if you are being paid a study grant by Kela or an adult education allowance by the Employment Fund. However, there are situations in which you can be granted a loan guarantee even if you do not receive study grant payments. Read more about who can get a student loan.

If you cannot get a loan guarantee without a study grant, you can still cancel and return your study grant payments (and any housing supplements you may have received) after you have taken out the student loan. In other words, you can apply for financial aid, take out a student loan, and then cancel and return your study grant (and housing supplement, if any).

However, you cannot receive any student loan funds after you have graduated or otherwise ended your course of study. However, you will be covered by any government loan guarantees issued for loans already disbursed to you.

Government guarantees for student loans are granted by Kela to their full amount. Learn more about the maximum amounts of the student loan.

Kela cannot grant loan guarantees that exceed the maximum amount. You can be granted more financial aid if your studies are extended for instance into the summer months or through additional time of study. You can be granted a larger loan guarantee for a period of study abroad.

The student loan and other student financial aid are intended for all the months of study during the course of study. Consider carefully how you use your student loan. 

As a student, you may be entitled to basic social assistance. Learn more about the kinds of situations in which you may be entitled to social assistance.

If you cancel financial aid beforehand, you cannot take out a student loan for the cancelled months or withdraw loan instalments with a disbursement date later than the date on which your financial aid was cancelled or discontinued.

Example. The earliest date on which student loan funds for the spring term can be made available is 1 January.

  • If you cancel financial aid payments or months of aid available to you for the spring term before 1 January, you will not be able to get a student loan for the spring term or for the months of aid you have cancelled.
  • If you cancel or return financial aid payments or months of aid after 1 January, you retain full student loan eligibility for the spring term. However, this is the case only if have previously agreed with your bank how to take out the loan and Kela has provided your bank with the necessary loan guarantee details. Visit the OmaKela e-service to check whether the loan guarantee details have been forwarded to your bank.

However, you cannot receive any student loan funds after you have graduated or otherwise ended your course of study, but the loans already disbursed to you remain covered by the government loan guarantee.

Financial aid is available in the form of study grants and government guarantees for student loans. This means that student loans are financial aid and are part of the financial assistance available to students. They are financial aid because they are guaranteed by the government and enjoy some additional advantages that regular loans do not.

Because of the government loan guarantee, the interest payable on student loans is low. Unlike with a regular loan, anyone who takes out a student loan may be eligible for interest assistance, exemption from payment, or (if they are in higher education) a student loan compensation or tax deduction.

The form of the student financial aid system and changes to it are decided by Parliament and not by Kela.

Studying and earning a degree benefit both the student him/herself and the society at large. Therefore some of the costs of studying are shared between them. The government provides various kinds of assistance for students. Finland is one of few countries that offer education free of charge and operate a financial aid system that provides all students with access to financial aid.

Yes it is, but each student should decide for themselves what the right option is for them. Taking out a student loan is a good idea if you don't have enough money and can't work alongside your studies. Many students could lessen financial strain and reduce the pressure on their time by taking out a loan.

A reasonable loan is not a problem, because earning a degree remains the best protection against unemployment. Should it prove impossible to find a job immediately after graduation, Kela can provide interest assistance to pay the interest due on the student loan for as long as 2.5 years.

Last modified 9/6/2023

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