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Student in higher education, check that you 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 11 September 2020.
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.
Due to the emergency conditions caused by the coronavirus epidemic, 2 months will be deducted from the months of financial aid used in the academic year 2019−2020 when monitoring study progress. The months of financial aid are only reduced when monitoring study progress in autumn 2020.
If a student has received financial aid for 9 months in the academic year 2019−2020, 7 months of financial aid will be taken into account when monitoring study progress. This means that the minimum number of credits required is then 35. If students earn fewer credits than required, they can avoid complications by returning some financial aid payments received in the first half of the year by 11 September 2020. 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.
If a student has already repaid student financial aid because the student did not earn enough credits in the academic year 2019−2020, the repayment may be unjustified since 2 months of financial aid are deducted for all higher education students in connection with the monitoring of study progress. In such a situation, the student can request that Kela cancel the repayment. The request can be submitted with a message via Kela’s e-service by 30 September 2020 at the latest.
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 2019, 13,000 students in higher education were sent a letter asking them to provide further information. A total of 163,000 higher education students received financial aid in the academic year 2018−2019.