Financial aid is available in the form of study grants and government guarantees for student loans. This means that student loans are financial aid and are part of the financial assistance available to students. They are financial aid because they are guaranteed by the government and enjoy some additional advantages that regular loans do not.
Because of the government loan guarantee, the interest payable on student loans is low. Unlike with a regular loan, anyone who takes out a student loan may be eligible for interest assistance, exemption from payment, or (if they are in higher education) a student loan compensation or tax deduction.
The form of the student financial aid system and changes to it are decided by Parliament and not by Kela.
Studying and earning a degree benefit both the student him/herself and the society at large. Therefore some of the costs of studying are shared between them. The government provides various kinds of assistance for students. Finland is one of few countries that offer education free of charge and operate a financial aid system that provides all students with access to financial aid.
Yes it is, but each student should decide for themselves what the right option is for them. Taking out a student loan is a good idea if you don't have enough money and can't work alongside your studies. Many students could lessen financial strain and reduce the pressure on their time by taking out a loan.
A reasonable loan is not a problem, because earning a degree remains the best protection against unemployment. Should it prove impossible to find a job immediately after graduation, Kela can provide interest assistance to pay the interest due on the student loan for as long as 2.5 years.
It is a good idea to apply for a government loan guarantee at the same time as you apply for student financial aid. Higher education students who get a study grant qualify automatically for the loan guarantee. It is possible to apply for the loan guarantee afterwards as well by filing a notification of changes.
Once the loan guarantee has been approved, students can contact a bank of their choice for a student loan. It is a good idea to contact several banks for a loan offer, because the terms of the loan may vary. You should study the terms and conditions of the loan carefully. The rate of interest payable on the loan and the timing of the repayment are agreed between the student and the lending bank.
The financial aid decision notifying that the loan guarantee has been approved will tell the maximum amount of loan that can be taken out and when. The student can decide whether to take out the maximum amount or less. A student loan approved for a specific academic year must be taken out during that year, usually by the end of July.
Government guarantees for student loans are granted by Kela to their full amount. The student loan and other student financial aid are intended for all the months of study during the course of study. Consider carefully how you use your student loan.
Kela cannot grant larger loan guarantees. You can be granted more financial aid if your studies are extended for instance into the summer months or through additional time of study. You can be granted a larger loan guarantee for a period of study abroad.