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 amount of your student loan. It is not worth applying before then.

  • degrees completed in the spring term: decisions are made usually in November
  • degrees completed in the autumn term: decisions are made usually in April

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 the OmaKela e-service to check your status.

Example

If you complete a higher education degree in May 2021, you will receive a written decision about the student loan compensation by December 2021.

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 the form for a student loan compensation (OT 30, PDF).
  2. Send your application using the OmaKela e-service:
    • Save the application and attachments on your device.
    • If the application or attachments are on paper you can photograph or scan them.
    • Log in to our e-service OmaKela and select Viestit.
    • As the topic of your message, select the benefit you are applying for
    • Choose the files from your device and press Lähetä (Send).
    • When you send your application online you don’t need to sign it.

      Another option is to send the application by mail:

    • Sign the application and send it with the supporting documents to Kela, PL 10, 00056 KELA.
  3. A written decision on your application will be sent to you by post. You can also view the decision on the OmaKela e-service.

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 2020, your application must reach Kela by 24 May 2022.

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. See example.

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 2020, you should tell Kela by 24 May 2022.

  1. Complete the form Notification of degree completed in a foreign educational institution OT 29e (pdf).
  2. Send the form using the OmaKela e-service:
    • Save the form and attachments on your device.
    • If the form or attachments are on paper you can photograph or scan them.
    • Log in to the e-service and select Viestit.
    • As the topic of your message, select Opintotuki (student financial aid).
    • Choose the files from your device and press Lähetä (Send).
    • When you send your application online you don’t need to sign it.

      Another option is to send the application by mail:

    • Sign the application and send it with the supporting documents to Kela, PL 10, 00056 KELA.
  3. You will receive a written decision by post once the bank has informed Kela of the principal amount of your student loan. You can also view the decision on our e-service.

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. See example.

Apply for a student loan compensation on the application for a student loan compensation (form OT 30e, PDF) 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. Complete the form Notification of degree completed in a foreign educational institution OT 29e (pdf). The application form OT 30e 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.

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