Student loan tax deduction
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 tax deduction.
The student loan tax deduction means that as you make payments on your student loan to your bank, you get to deduct the amount of the student loan tax deduction from your taxes. The deduction is only available to higher education students who began their first course of study in higher education before 1 August 2014.
You are eligible for student loan tax deduction if you meet all of the following requirements:
- you began your first course of study in higher education before 1 August 2014
- you complete your degree within the target time and
- you have outstanding student debt of more than EUR 2,500.
Degrees which qualify you for the deduction are:
- bachelor's and master's level university degrees
- bachelor's or master level degree obtained in a university of applied sciences.
You only get the deduction for the first higher education degree you complete in Finland or abroad, provided that you began the degree programme between 1 August 2005 and 31 July 2019. If you have started the studies for a degree on or after 1 August 2019, student loan tax deduction can not be granted.
The student loan tax deduction is available for a bachelor's degree only if you gained admission to the bachelor's programme exclusively.
Most graduates receive a written decision on the student loan tax deduction automatically. If you have completed a degree outside Finland, you must notify Kela.
Use this calculator to see whether you qualify for a student loan tax deduction.
You must complete your degree within a target time
You only get the student loan tax deduction if you complete your degree with a specified target time. The target time depends on the degree you are studying for.
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.
|Extent of the degree programme in credits||Target time|
|300||7 academic years|
|330||7.5 academic years|
|360||8 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 in credits||Target time|
|180||4 academic years|
|210||4.5 academic years|
|240||5 academic years|
|270||5.5 academic years|
Keep in mind that the time to complete a degree is counted from the beginning of your first course of study in higher education and that any terms in which you are non-attending or interrupt your study count towards the time to complete a degree.
If you do not complete a degree within the target time, you may still be eligible for a student loan tax deduction 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 a child, provided you were paid maternity, paternity or parental allowance
- a period of illness, provided you were paid sickness allowance, sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease or rehabilitation subsidy, pension or compensation on grounds of full incapacity for work
- delay in the studies due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The period of service or payment of an allowance must be uninterrupted and last at least one month during a period of time which qualifies for the student loan tax deduction.
A period of service or payment of an allowance lasting at least one month 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 one month, 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 tax deduction. 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.
If you completed a higher education degree in the autumn term of 2020 (1 August 2020 to 31 December 2020), and your graduation was delayed because of the epidemic, you can get an extension of 0.5 academic years to your target time to qualify for the student loan tax deduction. The target time can be extended, if you in the autumn term of 2020 completed a degree that will be used as the basis for determining your entitlement to student loan tax deduction.
If you did not graduate within the target time to qualify for student loan tax deduction, you will receive a negative preliminary decision from Kela. Request a review of the preliminary decision, if your graduation was delayed due to the coronavirus epidemic. Please state in the request for review which study units that are required for the degree that you did not complete in the spring term of 2020 (1 January to 31 July 2020) due to the coronavirus epidemic. State in your request for review
- which compulsory study units you did not complete and
- how the coronavirus epidemic affected your studies so that you did not complete these study units.
The request for review can be a free of form description of your situation expressed in your own words. You do not need to enclose any certificates with your request. The reasons for a delay in your studies may for example have to do with the study arrangements or with your or your family member's health or general life situation.