How to apply for a student loan compensation

You do not generally have to apply for a student loan compensation. Once you have completed a higher education degree, Kela will send you a written decision about the student loan compensation by the end of the following term.

Please note!

However, you do need to apply for the compensation if you would like to receive it for a university bachelor's degree.

You must notify Kela if you complete a higher education degree outside Finland. If you want a student loan compensation for a bachelor's level degree you have completed abroad, you must both notify Kela about the degree and apply for a student loan compensation.

Kela cannot make a decision on the student loan compensation until the bank has provided information about the unpaid amount of your student loan. It is not worth applying before then. Kela is informed by the bank as follows:

  • degrees completed in the spring term: 10 October
  • degrees completed in the autumn term: 10 March

Kela will not send you a decision if you have not taken out a student loan during your higher education studies. However, it is possible that you have used your right to a student loan compensation. Go to Kela's online customer service to check your status.

Example

If you complete a higher education degree in May 2019, you will receive a written decision about the student loan compensation by December 2019.

Bachelor’s level university degree

If you complete a bachelor's level university degree, you can decide for yourself whether to apply for a student loan compensation or whether to retain your right to it until you have completed a master's degree.

  1. Complete an application for a student loancompensation (OT 30).
  2. Scan or take a photo of the form and send it to Kela using the message function on Kela's online customer service website.
  3. Alternatively you can submit the paper form and supporting documents to any of Kela's customer service points.
  4. You will receive a decision once the bank has informed Kela of the principal amount of your student loan.

You must apply for the compensation within two years of taking a bachelor's level university degree. For example, if you earn a degree on 24 May 2018, your application must reach Kela by 24 May 2020.

It is a good idea to apply for a student loan compensation in the following situations:

  • You only plan to get a bachelor's level university degree.
  • You plan to take a break in your studies, with the result that you will not have time to complete a master's degree within the target time.
  • You have not decided whether to complete a master's degree and when you will complete it.
  • You complete a bachelor's level university degree outside Finland and a master's level university degree in Finland. Your student loan compensation can be larger for a bachelor's level degree.

In the following situation, it is not worth applying:

  • You plan to complete a master's degree within the target time and take out a student loan during your studies. You can get a larger student loan compensation if you do not take it until you have earned a master's degree.

Any time you take to complete a bachelor's level university degree counts towards the target time within which you must complete a master's degree.

University degrees completed outside Finland

If you earn a university degree outside Finland, you should tell Kela about it within two years. For example, if you earn a degree on 24 May 2018, you should tell Kela by 24 May 2020.

  1. Complete a Notification of degree completed in a foreign educational institution (OT 29).
  2. Scan or take a photo of the form and send it to Kela using the message function on Kela's online customer service website.
  3. Alternatively you can submit the paper form and supporting documents to any of Kela's customer service points.
  4. You will receive a decision once the bank has informed Kela of the principal amount of your student loan.

Also tell Kela if you earn a bachelor's degree abroad. After that you can either apply for a student loan compensation for the bachelor's degree or choose to wait until you have completed a master's degree. Apply for a student loan compensation on the application for a student loan compensation (form OT 30) within two years of completing a bachelor's degree.

If you wish to use the student loan compensation for a master’s degree, tell Kela about the degree within two years of completing it. Use the form OT 29. The application form OT 30 is not needed for master’s degrees.

If you receive an unfavourable preliminary decision

You will be sent an unfavourable preliminary decision if your time to degree was too long or your loan amount is too small. You have some time to ask for a review of your case and explain why you took longer to graduate. Once your request for a review has been dealt with, you will receive a decision on the student loan compensation. If you are dissatisfied with the decision, you can appeal your case to the Student Financial Aid Review Board.

Further information