Extension of compulsory education: Impact on school transport subsidy and financial aid for students

Compulsory education will be extended at the beginning of August 2021. Upper secondary education will be free of charge to young persons who come within the scope of extended compulsory education.

The extension will apply to those leaving comprehensive school in or after 2021. The changes will go into effect one age group at a time. The first age group to be covered by extended compulsory education consists of students leaving comprehensive school this year. Extended compulsory education does not apply to students who left comprehensive school education before 2021.

Students will continue to get financial aid and school transport subsidies, but some changes will apply.

Effect on student financial aid

Students entitled to free education cannot get a supplementary allowance for the purchase of study materials, but are otherwise entitled to student financial aid like any other students.

Students entitled to free education can get financial aid for studies in an upper secondary school for adult students.

Effect on the school transport subsidy

The terms of eligibility are somewhat different for students entitled to free education. Some of the changes to the school transport subsidy, which are due to take effect on 1 August 2021, will apply to all students.

Studies entitling to school transport subsidy

The study programmes entitling students to school transport subsidy are listed here.

Students entitled to free education can get school transport subsidy also if they

  • attend an upper secondary school for adults
  • study for a vocational qualification
  • are enrolled in a liberal adult education programme.

Students not entitled to free education cannot get school transport subsidy for these studies.

School transport subsidy and the length and number of trips to school

Eligibility for the school transport subsidy depends on the type of school attended, the fare paid, and the length and number of the trips made to school. Students entitled to free education can get school transport subsidy if their trip from home to school is at least seven kilometres.

Other students can get school transport subsidy if their trip is at least 10 kilometres. Students not entitled to free education pay part of the fare out of their own pocket.

There will be changes to the school transport subsidy scheme on 1 August 2011 which will affect all students. Starting from August, students can get school transport subsidy even if they do not make a daily trip to school.  Instead, they must make such a trip on at least ten days in a given month. The full subsidy is available to students with at least 15 days of qualifying travel per month. Students with 10–14 travel days get a smaller subsidy.

Online benefit calculators and how to apply

The online calculators for the school transport subsidy and for student financial aid will be updated in June 2021.

School transport subsidy is available by application, and a separate application is required for each academic year. An updated application form will become available in May 2021. Students submit the application to their school. Kela's e-services cannot be used to apply for school transport subsidy.

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