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 have earned in the previous academic year. Past financial aid payments can be returned voluntarily until 10 September 2021.

Kela monitors the academic progress of students in higher education on a yearly basis. Students 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.

If a student has received financial aid for 9 months in the academic year 2020-2021, the minimum number of credits required is 45. Students who have not earned enough credits to meet the requirement for financial aid can return some of the financial aid payments received in the first half of the year by 10 September 2021 at the latest. The payments can be returned via the OmaKela e-service.

Students who have earned fewer than 20 credits in the previous academic year will receive a request for further information about their academic progress. Kela will send this request even if the student has returned the financial aid payments received in the spring 2021. This is because it is no longer possible to return financial aid received in the autumn 2020. The 20-credit requirement does not apply to those who began 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.

Students who have not made enough progress with their studies will receive a request for further information

Students who do not meet the minimum credit requirement for financial aid are sent a request for further information at the beginning of October. The monitoring of academic progress concerns both the preceding academic year (1 August to 31 July) and the entire period of study. Progress in individual months is not monitored.

When monitoring academic progress, Kela takes into account all credits earned at institutions of higher education and the number of months for which the student has received financial aid. If a student graduates or completes a higher education degree during the academic year preceding the monitoring of academic progress, or in the autumn before the monitoring is carried out, the student has made sufficient progress in their studies.

If the academic progress has been adversely affected by illness or some other good reason, this can be taken into account. Students who have not made enough progress with their studies due to reasons related to the coronavirus epidemic must respond to the request for further information and describe how the epidemic has affected their studies. If a student has earned less than 1 credit per month of financial aid during the preceding academic year, Kela will consider whether the student should be required to pay back some of the aid.

In the academic year 2019–2020, a total of 173,000 students in higher education received financial aid. In connection with the monitoring of academic progress carried out in autumn 2020, Kela sent 7,600 of those students a request for further information. The number of requests for further information decreased considerably compared to previous years. The reason for this is that due to the exceptional circumstances created by the coronavirus epidemic, 2 months were deducted from the number of months of financial aid used by students in the academic year 2019–2020. This means that, in the previous academic year, the minimum credit requirement for student financial aid was lower than the usual. The 2 months deduction was based on a temporary change made to the Decree on Student Financial Aid.

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