Recovery of student loan debt repaid under the government loan guarantee

If Kela has repaid your student loan to the bank in its capacity as the guarantor of the loan, the full amount repaid to the bank will be recovered from you. The interest rate charged on the student loan debt is 4% from the beginning of 2018. 

Payment arrangements  

Pay the entire amount due in a single payment. If you cannot pay it in a single payment, you can contact Kela’s Overpayment Recovery Centre to discuss paying it back in instalments.

Contact us

  • via our online customer service. Select Liikamaksut ja perintäasiat – Opintolainan takaussaatavan perintä (Overpayment and recovery - Recovery of guaranteed student loan debt) as the subject of your message.
  • by calling the Overpayment Recovery Centre

When the terms of an instalment plan are discussed, your financial circumstances, the amount of debt outstanding and the period of time remaining for the recovery will be taken into account.

If your financial circumstances take a turn for the worse and you are no longer able to follow the agreed payment plan, contact the Overpayment Recovery Centre before the due date. That way we can discuss an amendment to the payment plan.

If you do not pay back the debt or your income is not high enough to make a payment plan, the debt will be transferred to the enforcement authorities for collection.

Exemption from the payment of guaranteed student loan debt

If your income is small and your student loan is collected by the bank, you can apply for interest assistance from Kela. If your income is small and Kela has repaid your student loan to the bank, you can apply for exemption from the payment of interest from Kela.  

You can be exempted from paying interest on student loan debt owed under the loan guarantee for any period in which your average taxable income does not exceed the maximum income limit. The income limit is higher if you have dependent children of your own or if dependent children of your spouse or partner are living with you.

The following income limits apply as of March 2020: 

  • no children: EUR 1,404 per month 
  • for 1 child: EUR 1,621 per month 
  • for 2 children: EUR 1,680 per month 
  • for 3 or more children: EUR 1,780 per month. 
The income limits are adjusted every other year in line with the increase in wages and prices. 
  • Exemption from the payment of interest can also be granted retroactively. Exemption can be granted retroactively for a maximum of 1 year (= month of application + 12 preceding full calendar months). If you have especially weighty reasons, you can also be granted exemption for a longer period than one year.

  • Exemption from the payment of interest can also be granted in advance, i.e. for a future period. If you know that in future your income will not exceed the income limit, you can apply for exemption already beforehand.

  • Exemption from the payment of interest can also be granted for instance for a time period during which you will receive a benefit from Kela (e.g. sickness allowance or parental allowance).

  • Exemption is usually not granted in advance for more than one year at a time (= month of application + 12 subsequent full calendar months).  

If you are unemployed, assessment of the income for the future period is considered case by case.  

  • If you have only recently become unemployed, exemption from the payment of interest is usually granted for a maximum of 3 months (= month of application + 3 subsequent full calendar months). 
  • If you have been unemployed for an extended period, exemption is usually granted for a maximum of 6 months (= month of application + 6 subsequent full calendar months).  

You can be granted exemption from payment of the whole debt if

  • your income is less than the maximum income limit and
  • you are permanently incapable of work or you have been continuously incapable of work for at least 5 years. 

Kela can only grant exemption from payment when Kela collects a student loan from you. Kela cannot grant exemption from payment if the bank collects a student loan from you.

How to apply 

  1. Call to Kela's Overpayment Recovery Centre or complete and print out the form titled Maksuvapautus opintolainan takaussaatavasta OG 6 (pdf), in Finnish.
  2. Enclose certificates on any capital income, income from abroad and unemployment benefits paid by an unemployment fund that you have received during the period that the application concerns. Kela obtains wage information from the national incomes register and uses this information when processing claims and applications. You will be contacted if additional information is required.
  3. Send the application along with all necessary supporting documents at Kela’s online customer service. If the supporting documents are not available in an electronic format, scan or take a photo of them. You can also mail the application along will all necessary documents to Kelan Perintäkeskus, Kela, PL 31, 00056 KELA.

Waiving collection of student loan in the case of death 

Collection of student loan debt is waived upon death. If the student loan is being collected by Kela, Kela is notified of the death automatically and informs the estate of the decision to waive collection.

If the student loan has not been transferred from the bank to Kela for collection, Kela pays the loan to the bank and informs the estate of the waiver.

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