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Quick guide to financial aid for students
Students are eligible for various types of financial assistance from Kela during education. The following checklist sums up the key points relating to the assistance available from Kela, from the beginning of study to graduation.
Your studies begin
Financial aid for students
The student financial aid safeguards your income during your studies. You can receive student financial aid for post-comprehensive school studies. Student financial aid includes the study grant and a state guarantee for a student loan. Some students also receive a housing supplement.Read more
If you are under 17 years of age
The general rule is that you must be 17 to qualify for student financial aid. If you are 15 or 16 and your parents’ income is low, you can get a supplementary allowance for the purchase of study materials and a government guarantee for a student loan. Calculate the amount of aid that may be available to you. The calculator asks you to provide an estimate for your parents’ annual income.Read more
Apply for financial aid
Apply for financial aid once you have been admitted to a school. If you are required formally to accept the place of study offered, apply for financial aid once you have done so. Even if you do not yet know how and where you will be living during your studies, you can apply for the study grant and the student loan guarantee.Apply now Read more
Apply for housing allowance
If you are studying in Finland, apply to Kela for the general housing allowance. You can apply for this after you have signed the rental agreement. If you are moving out from the home of your parent(s), fill out the form for notifying Kela of changes in the financial aid for students.Apply now Read more
School transport subsidy
You can get the school transport subsidy if you attend upper secondary education or basic vocational education provided your one-way trip from home to school is at least 10 kilometres.Read more
Apply for the school transport subsidy
If you are a secondary-level student, apply for the school transport subsidy by completing form KM1 (in Finnish, KM1r in Swedish) and submitting it to your school. You must apply separately for each term.Read more
Payments are scheduled for the first day of the month
The study grant and the general housing benefit payments are deposited to your account on the 1st of the month or the immediately following business day. For example, if the 1st day of the month is a Saturday, the benefits are paid on the following Monday.
Keep your payslips
If you have been employed, keep your payslips for the year in which you begin your studies. If your annual income exceeds the maximum limit for financial aid, you can use the payslips to prove what part of your income was earned before you began your studies.Read more
Student meal subsidy
Kela pays part of higher education students’ meals at student restaurants.Read more
During your studies
Please let us know if there are changes in your circumstances. Such changes include transferring to another educational institution, discontinuing your studies, moving, or studying abroad on a temporary basis.
Remember to notify separately us about changes that affect the housing allowance, such as income, living costs or members of the household.Read more
Apply for financial aid for the summer
You can get financial aid also for the summer if you study. You can also work a summer job, but remember to keep track of your earnings and compare them against the income limits for financial aid and the housing allowance. If you cannot study in the summer and you do not have a summer job, you can apply to Kela for basic social assistance.Apply now Read more
Check your credit total
Higher education students: check at the end of each academic year that you have earned enough academic credits (ECTS). If you do not have enough credits, you can voluntarily repay some financial aid by a specified deadline. Otherwise Kela may stop paying you financial aid the following January.Read more
Monitoring academic progress
You must make progress in your studies to get financial aid. If you are in higher education, Kela checks your academic progress each year in October. If you are in secondary education, your school monitors your progress.Read more
Check your income
If you are employed, check your income against the annual income limit. You can do this on Kela's online customer service website. In April or May, the online customer service will also show preliminary information about your annual income. If you exceed the income limit, repay some financial aid by the end of May.
If you receive the general housing allowance, remember to notify us immediately of changes in your income.Read more
Kela collects overpaid financial aid
To avoid having to pay back overpaid financial aid, check your income and, if necessary, repay voluntarily some financial aid by the end of May. Otherwise, Kela will collect the overpaid financial aid from you plus an additional 7.5 per cent.Read more
Kela can pay back part of your student loan
If you are in higher education, have a student loan and graduate within the target time, Kela can pay off as much as a third of your student loan in the form of a student loan compensation.Read more
Congratulations, you've graduated!
Do not pay back student loan during your graduation year
If you are in higher education, you should not make repayments on your student loan in or before the year you graduate. Doing so may make you ineligible for a student loan tax deduction or compensation.
Keep your payslips
Save your payslips for the year of graduation. If your annual income exceeds the income limit for financial aid, you can use your payslips to prove that you have earned it after you graduated.Read more
Notify Kela of changes in income
If you receive the general housing allowance and your income changes after graduation, remember to notify us of this immediately.Read more
If you cannot find work immediately
If you cannot find work immediately after graduating, register as an unemployed jobseeker with the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE office) and apply to Kela for unemployment benefit.Read more
Pay the interest on your student loan and start to pay back the loan
After you graduate, you will need to start paying interest on your student loan. You will also have to begin making repayments on the loan. Contact your bank to find out what the payment schedule is. If you have low income, Kela can pay the interest on your student loan. When your bank bills you for the interest, apply for interest assistance using form OT7 (in Finnish, OT7r in Swedish).Read more