Amount and payment
The amount of the school transport subsidy depends on your travel distance to school and the method of transport you use.
You can receive school transport subsidy mainly for public transport or dedicated school transport. If neither of those options is available to you, you can receive school transport subsidy for your own car, for instance.
The school transport subsidy is available starting from the first day of study. During a single school year (1 August - 31 July), you can receive it for 1-12 calendar months.
Depending on your method of transport, Kela will pay it either to the transport operator or yourself. If paid to yourself, the subsidy is deposited in your account on the 1st day of each month or the immediately following business day. If you are paid the subsidy retroactively, Kela will deposit the payment one day after you were given a decision about the subsidy.
If you take public transport to school, your share of the fare will be a maximum of EUR 43 per month. The exceeding part is paid by Kela in the form of the school transport subsidy either to the transport operator or yourself.
If you use Waltti regional transport or a Matkahuolto bus, submit an application for school transport subsidy to your school and ask for a voucher. By presenting the voucher when buying a ticket, you will only have to pay a maximum of EUR 43 for the ticket per month.
The last ticket for the school year must be purchased at least 2 weeks before the last day of school. You may not buy any further tickets after you graduate or interrupt your studies, however you can use up the value loaded on your card.
Waltti regional transport
If you take Waltti regional transport, you can get school transport subsidy even if the price of your ticket is less than EUR 54 per month. The ticket office will write the voucher data on the card and load it up with a 30-day student ticket. The voucher is retained by the ticket office.
Waltti regional transport is a bus system set up on 1 August 2015 by a number of Finnish towns and ELY Centres. Check when your regional transport will join the Waltti system: go to www.waltti.fi or the website of your local public transport operator.
When you buy your first bus ticket from Matkahuolto, the voucher data is loaded up on your school transport subsidy card, and the voucher is retained by Matkahuolto. You must buy the least expensive ticket available for a period corresponding to one month. Usually this is either a 44-trip school transport subsidy ticket or a 30-day regional ticket for students.
Other forms of public transport
If you take some other form of public transport besides Waltti regional transport or Matkahuolto buses, you cannot use a voucher. In that case you must first buy a ticket at the regular price. Each month, Kela pays into your account the difference between the lowest-cost monthly ticket available to students and EUR 43, your out-of-pocket share.
Other forms of public transport include the Helsinki Region Transport (HSL), chartered services and, starting 1 August 2016, the VR train service.
Your school or municipal government can arrange transportation to and from school or buy tickets for you. The transport operator can charge you up to EUR 43 for the transport. Kela pays the school transport subsidy directly to the operator. However, you must first submit an application for school transport subsidy.
The regional transport systems in Tampere and Turku both operate as school transport providers.
If public transport or dedicated school transport is not an option for you, you can travel to school however you see fit, for example in your own or your friend's car. You can receive between EUR 52.98 and EUR 343.14 per month in school transport subsidy. The amount of the subsidy depends on the length of the trip (two way). For example, if your travel distance to school is 10 kilometres one way, you can get EUR 52.98 per month.
Kela subsidises the cost of travelling to school up to a maximum distance of 100 kilometres. If your one-way trip is longer than 100 kilometres, you will have to cover the exceeding costs yourself.
You can get school transport subsidy for the use of your own means of transport also in the following situations:
- There is no public transport or dedicated school transport for a part of your trip exceeding 5 kilometres.
- Your two-way trip takes longer than 3 hours a day when you take public transport or dedicated school transport. This includes both the waiting time and the actual travel time.
- The trip to school is difficult or demanding for you (for example because of illness, injury or daily childcare arrangements).
- Public transport or dedicated school transport is only available to you for up to six one-way trips per week, which means that you must each week arrange for transportation for at least four one-way trips to or from school.
- Your trip to school or your method of transport changes several times per month or per school year.