Eligibility for financial aid

You can get financial aid for post-comprehensive school education. Student financial aid can also be granted for adult basic education.

You are eligible if

You can get financial aid also for studies outside Finland, if they correspond to a course of study in Finland that would qualify you for financial aid or are part of a course of study you are completing in Finland.

Higher education

Institutions of higher education comprise universities, universities of applied sciences, the National Defence University and the Police University College. You can get financial aid in the following situations:

  • You are studying for a bachelor's or master's level university degree or a post-graduate degree in a scientific field or in the arts or an advanced vocational qualification.
  • You are completing a bachelor's or master's level degree at a university of applied sciences.
  • You are attending studies aimed at preparing immigrants for studies at universities of applied sciences.
  • You attend a separate programme of continuing vocational education.

You can get financial aid for studies in the open university or in the summer university if you have the right to pursue a degree in a higher education institution and the studies in question are part of your degree programme.

You can get financial aid also for completing a particular course or study module if you already have a degree from an institution of higher education and the studies in question would upgrade your professional competence or give you a specific qualification. Such studies include, for example, studies in library and information science aimed at qualifying as a librarian.

Upper secondary education

Upper secondary education means a course of study that takes place after comprehensive school, for example in an upper secondary school, an institution of vocational education or a folk high school. You can get financial aid in the following situations:

  • You attend an upper secondary school.
  • You complete a basic vocational qualification or a part of such qualification.
  • You complete a vocational qualification, specialist vocational qualification, or other vocational education.
  • You attend a course of study that prepares you for basic vocational qualifications or for work and independent living.
  • You attend a course of study for immigrants and persons whose native language is not Finnish or Swedish that prepares you for the upper secondary school.
  • You study in a folk high school, a sports institute or the Sámi Education Institute.

You can get financial aid for studies at a general upper secondary school for adult students only if you are completing them in combination with a basic vocational qualification. This means that you are completing both the general upper secondary school curriculum or a matriculation examination and a basic vocational qualification. Therefore, you cannot get financial aid if the course of study you are pursuing consists solely of general upper secondary school studies.

If you are completing vocational on-the-job training as part of an apprenticeship programme, and you are paid for the training, you cannot get financial aid at the same time. If you receive financial aid, tell Kela the start and end dates of the paid on-the-job training either in a message sent via Kela’s e-service, by mailing an OT 16e form, or by calling Kela at 020 634 2550.

Private educational institutions

Financial aid is also available for specific study programmes in certain private educational institutions. Financial aid is not available for any other studies in private educational institutions. Kela also does not provide assistance for tuition fees.

Private education programmes for which financial aid is available (in Finnish)

Private educational institutions are ones that are not supervised or financed by public authorities (in Finnish).

Adult basic education

You can get financial aid for students if you are in adult basic education, i.e. you complete basic education for persons who are no longer of compulsory education age. Financial aid is usually awarded on the same grounds as for secondary education. However, the rules regarding studies on a full-time basis differ from the rules that apply to financial aid for secondary education.

Adult basic education is intended for persons who have not completed basic education (comprehensive school) while they were of compulsory education age and for persons who want to study subjects included in basic education, supplement their basic education certificate or raise their grades in individual subjects.

Financial aid for foreign students

If you are not a Finnish citizen and have come to Finland for study purposes, the general rule is that you cannot get financial aid from Finland.

However, you may qualify for financial aid if

  • you have been granted a continuous (A) or permanent (P) residence permit or an EU residence permit for third-country nationals (P-EU or P-EY). If you are a citizen of another EU or EEA country or of Switzerland, the family member of such a person, or a citizen of a Nordic country, you only have to register your right of residence or present your residence card.
  • if you are living in Finland permanently and
  • you have arrived in Finland for some other reason than to study. Such a reason can for example be employment, family ties or return migration.

Whether your residence is considered to be permanent is determined on the basis of the Municipality of Residence Act.

If you are a citizen of another EU or EEA or of Switzerland, you can get financial aid even if you have come to Finland to study. This requires that

  • you are employed in Finland for at least 4 months with an average of at least 18 hours of work per week, or that your insurable earnings under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act are at least €1,000 per month, or
  • you have been granted the right of permanent residence in Finland under the Aliens Act.

You can also get financial aid if you are the family member of a citizen of another EU or EEA country or of Switzerland who is employed in Finland.

Apply for financial aid in the same way as other students. Enclose with your application the Appendix to application for student financial aid filed by foreign resident (OT 10e), if you have not previously received financial aid in Finland.