Student loan compensation
If you take out a student loan while in higher education and you complete your degree within the target time, you may be eligible for a student loan compensation. The student loan compensation means that Kela pays back part of your student loan. The compensation is only available to higher education students who began their first course of study in higher education on or after 1 August 2014.
Eligibility for the student loan compensation
You are eligible for the student loan compensation if
- you began your first course of higher education study on or after 1 August 2014 (i.e., your first year of attendance was 2014–2015 or later),
- you complete your degree within the target time and
- you have outstanding government-guaranteed student debt of more than EUR 2,500.
Degrees which qualify you for a student loan compensation are:
- bachelor's and master's level university degrees
- bachelor's or master level degree obtained in a university of applied sciences.
The student loan compensation is only available for the first degree you complete. However, if you earn a bachelor's degree in a university, you can decide for yourself whether to apply for the compensation or whether to defer it until you have completed a master's degree.
Most graduates receive a written decision on the student loan compensation automatically.
- However, you must apply if you want to get the compensation for a bachelor's degree obtained in an institute of higher education. You must apply for the compensation within two years of taking a degree.
- If you have completed a degree outside Finland, you must notify Kela. You must notify Kela within two years of taking a degree.
Use this calculator to estimate whether you qualify for a student loan compensation, what is the target time for completing your degree, and how large the compensation would be.
You must complete your degree within a target time
To qualify for the student loan compensation, you must complete your degree within a specified target time. The target time depends on the degree you are completing.
Kela considers your period of study to begin at the beginning of the term when you first accept a place of study in any higher education institution. The studies are considered to have started
- 1 January always when the first place of study is for a course of study that starts in the spring term (1 January–31 July)
- 1 August always when the first place of study is for a course of study that starts in the autumn term (1 August–31 December)
The period of study ends on the last day of the term in which you complete a degree. The studies are considered to have ended
- 31 July always when you graduate in the spring term (1 January–31 July)
- 31 December always when you graduate in the autumn term (1 August–31 December)
The period of study also includes terms in which you register as non-attending or interrupt your studies.
If you accepted a place of study before 1 August 2014, but did not register as attending until or after 1 August 2014, your period of study is considered to begin on 1 August 2014.
|Extent of the degree programme||Target time|
|300 credits||6 academic years|
|330 credits||6.5 academic years|
|360 credits||7 academic years|
If you complete a master's level university degree exclusively, the target time depends on the combined extent of the bachelor's and master's programmes.
|Extent of the degree programme||Target time|
|180 credits||3.5 academic years|
|210 credits||4 academic years|
|240 credits||4.5 academic years|
|270 credits||5 academic years|
If you do not complete a degree within the target time, you may still be eligible for a student loan compensation if there is an acceptable reason for your failing to meet academic progress requirements. Such acceptable reasons are
- performing conscript, alternative or voluntary military service
- looking after your child, provided you were paid maternity, paternity or parental allowance
- a period of illness, provided you were paid sickness allowance or rehabilitation subsidy, pension or compensation on grounds of full incapacity for work.
The period of service or payment of an allowance must be uninterrupted and last at least 30 days during a period of time which qualifies for the student loan compensation.
A period of service or payment of an allowance lasting at least 30 days during a single academic term extends the target time by 0.5 academic years. Term dates are 1 January - 31 July and 1 August - 31 December. The target time cannot be extended by more than 0.5 academic years even if you have had several periods of service or payment of an allowance during a single term.
If the period of service or payment of an allowance lasts at least 30 days, but not within any individual term, the target time can still be extended by 0.5 academic years.
The target time can be extended without limit because of child care responsibilities if you are paid maternity, paternity or parental allowance. For any other reasons, the target time can usually be extended by a maximum of two academic years.
If you exceed the target time, you will receive a preliminary decision Kela telling you that you are not granted a student loan compensation. If you have an acceptable reason for taking longer than the target time, you can ask Kela to review your case again. The preliminary decision will give you the deadline for requesting a review.
Request a review of your case also when the time for completing a degree at the foreign institute of higher education has been at the most 3 months too long and the reason is
- a delay in the award of the diploma that is not due to you or
- the use of different start and end dates for the term at the foreign institute of higher education than those used in Finland.
Provide information about your actual time of study, the reasons for the delay in the granting of the diploma and the start and end dates of the term. Do it in your request or in an application for a student loan compensation (OT 30).