Financial aid for students in Finland

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Here you will find information about the Finnish student financial aid system, i.e. study grants and student loans, as well as other support for students. You can also find information on the benefits you can get if you fall ill or have a child during your studies.

The purpose of financial aid for students is to secure your income during your studies. Under certain conditions, you can also get Finnish student financial aid abroad. In Finland, financial aid for students is managed by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). In addition to financial aid for students, you may be entitled to other benefits, such as general housing allowance and, depending on your school, meal subsidy or school transport subsidy.

If you are an adult student, see what benefits there are for adult students on the page Adult education in Finland.

If you are studying in Åland, see the page Student financial aid in Åland.

What does student financial aid consist of and how much do you get?

In Finland, you can get student financial aid to finance your studies, consisting of a study grant, a state-guaranteed student loan and, in certain cases, student housing supplement.

Study grant

The amount of study grant you receive depends on your age, your educational institution, your living arrangements, your marital status and whether you have children. Read more about the study grant on Kela’s website. You can also use the student financial aid calculator to see if and how much financial aid you can get.

The study grant is taxable income. However, if you have no income other than your study grant, you do not have to pay tax on it. Read more on Kela’s website.

Student loan

A student loan is a state-guaranteed loan and must be repaid. If Kela grants you a loan guarantee, you do not need any other security for the loan. You agree the interest rate and repayment schedule of your student loan with your bank.

Read more on Kela’s website.

Housing supplement

People living in rented accommodation in Finland are eligible for general housing allowance. Read more on the page Housing benefits in Finland.

Only persons living abroad or in Åland who live in rented accommodation or persons in Finland studying at a folk high school, sports training centre or training centre in the Sámi region who are studying on a fee-paying course and live in the educational institution’s dormitory are eligible for the student housing supplement. Read more on Kela’s website.

Am I entitled to student financial aid?

You can get student financial aid for your studies after basic education. Student financial aid can also be granted for basic adult education. You can get student financial aid if you are studying full-time, making progress in your studies and need financial support. If you work while studying, please note that your income will affect the number of months for which you can claim student financial aid. Read more on Kela’s website.

The conditions for granting student financial aid are different for higher education and upper secondary education. You can also get student financial aid for studying abroad if the studies are equivalent to studies in Finland that entitle you to student financial aid or if they form part of studies in Finland. You can also get student financial aid if you are a Finnish citizen living abroad and studying at a Finnish educational institution. Read more on Kela’s website.

If you come to Finland to study from another Nordic country, you usually get student support from your home country. If you are not a Finnish citizen, you can only get Finnish student financial aid if you are a permanent resident of Finland and the reason for your stay in Finland is something other than studying, such as work, family ties or remigration. If you have been admitted to a Finnish educational institution before being registered in the Finnish Population Register and have no other reason for being in Finland, you cannot get student financial aid in Finland.

Read more on Kela’s website. If you cannot get student financial aid in Finland, check the rules in your own country.

How do I apply for student financial aid?

You can apply for student financial aid once you have secured your study place. Submit the application electronically in OmaKela e-service or fill in, print and post your application and attachments to Kela. Read more on Kela’s website.

For how long can I get student financial aid?

The maximum period of support for studies is different in higher education and upper secondary education. If you are studying for a university degree, your maximum period of support will depend on the scope of your degree and when you started your first higher education studies. In upper secondary education, you can get financial aid for the normal length of your course of study as long as you study on a full-time basis. Read more on Kela's website.

The number of months of support per academic year also depends on where you study. You can get student financial aid for higher education for 9 months per academic year and for upper secondary education for 10 months per academic year. The eligible months are August/September-May. However, you can apply for a shorter period or for a longer period if you also study during the summer. Read more on Kela’s website.

When are student loans repaid?

Student loan repayments usually start about 1.5 to 2 years after the end of the payment of student financial aid has ended. If you wish, you can start repayment earlier.

Borrowers agree the repayment arrangements with their bank.

The state guarantee for student loans is valid for 30 years from the date of the first disbursement. Read more on Kela’s website.

Other student allowances

University students are entitled to meal subsidy, student discounts, a student loan deduction in taxation and earnings-related pension for a completed degree. Upper secondary students can get school transport subsidy. Read more below.

Other allowances for university students

University students receive a discount on the price of student meals. Read more on Kela’s website.

For information on other discounts available with your student card, as well as on scholarships and bursaries available for your studies, see the guide to studying in Finland.

University students can also get a student loan deduction in taxation if they complete their university degree within the deadline. Read more on Kela’s website.

In addition, studies leading to a higher education degree accrue earnings-related pension. Read more on the website Työelä

Other support for students in upper secondary education

In upper secondary education, you can also get school transport subsidy if the distance to your school is at least 10 km. Read more on Kela’s website.

Studies leading to a basic vocational qualification also accrue earnings-related pension. Read more on the website Työelä

What if I fall ill or have a baby?

If you fall ill, you can take sick leave. If you are pregnant or have had a baby, you may be entitled to parental benefits and a provider supplement. Read more below.

Sick leave during studies

If you fall ill and cannot study, you can take sick leave. In this case, you can get sickness allowance instead of study allowance. You cannot get student financial aid and sickness allowance at the same time, so your student financial aid will automatically stop when Kela grants you sickness allowance. However, sick pay paid to your employer does not prevent you from getting student financial aid.

When your sick leave ends and you resume your full-time studies, notify Kela. You will have to re-apply for student financial aid if it has been completely stopped while you were on sick leave.

If you are getting sickness allowance, you can still study to some extent. You can study up to about 40% of your normal full-time course load. Read more on Kela’s website.

Pregnancy and parenthood during studies

If you are pregnant during your studies, you may be eligible for a pregnancy allowance. Pregnancy allowance is paid for 40 working days. You can also get a maternity grant in the form of either a maternity package or a cash payment of 170 euros.

If you are studying full-time, you can get parental allowance in addition to student financial aid. In this case, the parental allowance is the minimum amount. If you do not get study grant, you will get parental allowance in full.

If you get housing allowance and have a baby, you should do a housing allowance review. Housing allowance is paid jointly to the household, so the amount of allowance may change as the size of the household increases.

If you are the guardian of a child under the age of 18, you may also be entitled to a provider supplement to the study grant. The provider supplement is not affected by who your child lives with or how many children you have. You cannot apply for the provider supplement to the study grant - it is automatically granted in addition to the study grant when the custody information is available in the Population Information System.

Receiving student financial aid does not affect your access to child home care allowance or private day care allowance.

Read more about support for pregnancy and parenthood below.

More information

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