Financing studies in Iceland

Fjármögnun náms á Íslandi
Information on possibilities for student loans and scholarships for persons intending to study in Iceland

Student loans

The Icelandic Student Loan Fund (LÍN) provides loans to students who fulfil the specific conditions set by the Fund.

Applicants must be 18 years of age and financially competent to apply for student loans. In addition, they must meet certain requirements for residence and/or a connection with Iceland as Icelandic or foreign nationals.

Applicants may not be on a bad credit register or in arrears with the Fund on their older loans, their estates may not be subject to bankruptcy proceedings or have previously been declared bankrupt, and the Fund may not have previously had to write off a loan made to them.

Students must be enrolled full-time in studies qualifying for student loans. The minimum performance per semester is 22 ECTS units or their equivalent. 

Residence requirements

Icelandic nationals are entitled to student loans if they satisfy one of the following conditions, cf. Art. 3 of Reg. No. 478/2011: 1. The applicant has had 5 years of continuous residence in Iceland before the application date.

2. The applicant has been in paid employment in this country:

a. for the last 12 months before the application date and had a permanent residence in Iceland during the same period, or

b has worked for less than 12 months prior to the application date and resided in Iceland for two years in total during a continuous 5 year period.

3. However, if the applicant's paid employment in the last 12 months prior to commencing study has not been continuous, his/her application may be approved in certain cases specified in Art. 3 of Reg. No. 478/2011.

In addition, the Board of Directors of the Fund may in special cases accept an applicant’s strong relationship with Iceland as fulfilling the above conditions.

Foreign nationals

Nordic nationals

Students from the Nordic countries, who are resident in Iceland and pursuing qualifying studies in Iceland, are entitled to study assistance on an equal basis with Icelandic students, if they do not receive study assistance from their home country, cf. currently applicable agreements between the Nordic countries in this regard.

 

Citizens of EEA states

Rights of EEA nationals who are employed/self-employed and their family members

Students who are employed/self-employed or hold this status under rules of EEA law and who are EEA nationals and their families and other dependants are entitled to student loans subject to the conditions in Art. 4 of Reg. No. 478/2011.

Students who are nationals of an EEA state other than those specified in Art. 1.1.3 are entitled to student loans subject to the conditions of Art 5 of Reg. No. 478/2011.

 

Rights of other foreign students

Foreign nationals become entitled to loans just as Icelandic students in the semester in which they are awarded Icelandic citizenship. A foreign national who is not a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) can apply for student loans for studies pursued in Iceland or in the Nordic countries if the person fulfils both the following conditions: 1. is married to an Icelandic national who meets the conditions of Art. 1.1.1 and 2. has been domiciled in Iceland for a minimum of 2 of the past 5 years prior to commencement of study. Persons to whom the authorities have granted international protection or residence permits on the basis of humanitarian considerations shall be entitled to student loans under the Act on the Icelandic Student Loan Fund, provided that they have arrived in the country and the Directorate of Immigration has confirmed that the person in question has been granted the legal status of refugee or a residence permit on the basis of humanitarian considerations in accordance with the Act on Foreign Nationals.

 

Scholarships

No general public scholarships are offered for students. However, students from rural areas who need to dwell away from their homes because of their studies may receive a so-called equal opportunity grant.

Students following a course of study in a comprehensive or other upper-secondary school leading to vocational qualifications can receive student loans.

Students who apply for a Nordplus or Erasmus grant to study in Iceland for one or two semesters should contact the International Office of the university where they are studying in their home country. Their studies are then evaluated as part of their study programme in the home country. In addition, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture provides a very limited number of grants to foreign students.

Various scholarship funds are available to students in certain fields, and information about them can be found, for instance, in a grant manual from the Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNÍS).

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