Reminder for students in higher education to check that they meet the minimum credit requirements for financial aid
Students in higher education should check the number of credits they earned in the previous academic year. Past financial aid payments can be returned voluntarily until the end of August.
Students in higher education who receive financial aid must earn at least 5 credits per month of financial aid and at least 20 credits per academic year. A month of financial aid is a month in which the student has been paid either a study grant, a housing supplement, or both. The monitoring of academic progress does not concern the general housing allowance.
Students who take out financial aid for 9 months must earn at least 45 credits. If they earn fewer credits, they can avoid complications by returning some financial aid payments received in the first half of the year by the end of August. The payments can be returned through Kela’s e-service.
However, returning financial aid voluntarily is not helpful if a student earned fewer than 20 credits in the previous academic year, because financial aid payments received in the previous autumn term can no longer be returned. This means that students should not take out financial aid at all if they expect to earn fewer than 20 credits during the academic year. The 20-credit requirement does not apply to those who begin their first academic year of study in the spring. However, they too are required to earn at least five credits per each month of financial aid.
When monitoring academic progress, all the credits earned in higher education and the months of financial aid used are taken into account. If the student graduates or completes a higher education degree before the academic progress is monitored or during the academic year preceding the monitoring of academic progress, the student has made sufficient progress in his or her studies.
Kela keeps track of students’ academic progress
Kela monitors the academic progress of higher education students on a yearly basis. Students who do not meet the minimum credit requirement for financial aid are sent a request for further information at the beginning of October. Both academic progress over the preceding academic year (1 August to 31 July) and the entire period of study are monitored, but progress in individual months is not.
If academic progress is adversely affected by illness or some other particular reason, that can be taken into account. Requiring a student to pay back financial aid is considered if he or she has earned less than 1 credit per month of aid during the preceding academic year.
In autumn 2018, 15,000 students in higher education were sent a letter asking them to provide further information. A total of 165,000 higher education students received financial aid in the academic year 2017–2018.