Financial Aid for Students
Finnish students are entitled to financial aid for students (opintotuki). If you are not a Finnish citizen and have come to Finland for study purposes, the general rule is that you cannot get financial aid for students.
Financial aid for students is available to non-citizens of Finland in some cases. See more information »
If you have questions whether you are eligible for financial aid for students, please call to Kela´s customer service 020 634 2550 (Students) or 020 634 0200 (Social security when moving to or from Finland) or when calling from abroad +358 20 634 0200. The services are open Monday through Friday 9 am to 3 pm.
You can apply for financial aid for students online (only in Finnish) or by filling in the financial aid application form OT2e. If you are not a Finnish citizen, you must fill in also form OT 10e. You can print the forms from Kela´s webpage.
If you are not eligible for financial aid for students, find out if you are entitled to some of the following:
Return overpaid financial aid by the end of May
Financial aid payments can be returned through Kela's online customer service. If overpaid financial aid is not returned in time, it is collected back at 7.5% interest.
Students whose income for 2018 exceeds a specified annual limit can voluntarily return overpaid study grant and student housing supplement payments. The annual income limit and the voluntary repayment provision do not apply to the general housing allowance. Overpaid financial aid must be paid back by Friday, 31 May 2019.
Recipients of student financial aid can access Kela’s e-service at www.kela.fi/asiointi (Finnish) to check preliminary information about their annual income and how it affects financial aid. An online bank user ID and password or a mobile ID are needed to log in to the service. The annual income details can be looked up by going to Opintotuki (Financial aid) > Tukikuukaudet (Months of financial aid) > Tulovalvonta (Income monitoring) > Vuositulot (Annual income).
A two-minute video, shows step by step how students can access Kela’s e-service and online calculators to check the amount of financial aid to return.
Financial aid payments can be returned conveniently online
Voluntary repayments of financial aid can be made online. Students can access Kela’s online customer service to see for which months they can return financial aid and how much their annual income limit will go up if they voluntarily return aid for those months. The voluntary repayment can be made right away as an online payment through the student’s bank. Alternatively, students can print out the information needed for the payment or ask Kela to send a payment form to their home address.
Students can also use the paper form OT16e to notify Kela of their intention to return financial aid voluntarily. The form must be submitted to Kela by 10 May 2019. Students who submit the form will be sent a pre-completed payment form.
Income limits can be checked online
Students who have received financial aid for 9 months can have up to 11,973 euros in other income. For students with 10 months of financial aid the limit is 10,650 euros. They can check their personal income limit via Kela’s online customer service or call 020 634 2550 between 9:00 and 16:00, Monday to Friday.
With the exception of study grant payments, all taxable earnings and investment income count as income at their gross value (before any deductions), as do scholarships and grants and income received from abroad. However, grants and scholarships intended for international student exchange programmes do not count as income. Students must check for themselves how much other income they have that counts against financial aid.
Students who received less financial aid for a particular month may choose to return that month’s financial aid payment. For higher education students, eligibility for financial aid is restored for each month for which they return financial aid.
Students whose income exceeds the annual limit and who do not return excess aid will be required to pay back the aid to Kela. In that case, the amount that must be paid back is 7.5% higher than if the aid had been returned voluntarily.
In 2018, 27,750 students returned a total of 25.4 million euros voluntarily. Most of the voluntary repayments are made online.
Kela notifies the tax office of the amounts of financial aid repaid
The tax office has sent taxpayers a pre-completed tax return form. Repayments of financial aid received by the end of February are taken into account in the tax return. Kela will notify the tax office of the amounts of financial aid returned voluntarily between March and May 2019. This means that students need not revise their tax return on that account. The tax office will take into account all repayments when calculating students' final tax liability.
Additional information for customers:
- Watch a video: Returning overpaid financial aid (in Finnish)
- How income affects financial aid
- Returning financial aid
- Kela’s financial aid helpline for students 020 634 2550, Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 18:00
- Ask online about student financial aid (in Finnish)
- Student financial aid on Facebook: www.facebook.com/opintotuki (in Finnish)
- Kela on Instagram
- Calculators for students' own income (in Finnish)
Apply now for student financial aid for the summer months!
You can get financial aid for summer study. You can get financial aid for attending lectures, tests, job training or working on a thesis, among other things.
To students in higher education financial aid for the summer months is granted in accordance with application. Financial aid is granted for the period you indicate in your application.
Remember that your annual income is checked and your academic progress in higher education is monitored
Higher education students must remember that taking out financial aid for summer study counts against their total eligibility for financial aid, which is calculated in months. Any summer months for which a student receives financial aid are also taken into account when checking the student’s annual income and monitoring their academic progress.
Kela checks study progress every year in October. The check focuses on the entire preceding academic year (1 August – 31 July). Credits earned in August count towards the next academic year's study progress.
How to apply financial aid for the summer months
Apply online for financial aid for the summer months. Log in to Kela's online customer service (in Finnish and Swedish only) using your online banking credentials or a mobile ID.
Remember to apply for financial for the summer in good time. The earliest you can get financial aid is the beginning of the month in which your application arrives.
If you cannot study in the summer and you do not have a summer job, you can apply to Kela for basic social assistance.
Tax-exempt grants and scholarships will no longer affect student financial aid
Starting 1 January 2019, tax-exempt grants and scholarships will no longer affect student financial aid payments.
Tax-exempt grants and scholarship paid on or after 1 January 2019 will no longer count as income for purposes of student financial aid. The former practice was criticised as unreasonable because grants and scholarships are often awarded as an incentive or as a reward for academic excellence. Following the change, grants and scholarships will no longer reduce the amount of financial aid for which students may be eligible. However, taxable grants and scholarships will continue to be included in students’ annual income under the student financial aid scheme.
By phone: Kela’s financial aid helpline for students, tel. 020 634 2550, (Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm)
Three thousand higher education students lose financial aid
Kela assesses the academic progress of higher education students on a yearly basis. This autumn, an assessment was carried out for around 140,000 higher education students who received financial aid in the academic year 2017–2018.
A request for further information about their academic progress was sent to 15,000 students and the deadline for replying was 18 October 2018. 12,400 students replied. The percentage of replies received rose to 83% compared to 75% the year before. The information and the clarifications provided by the majority of the students who replied were accepted and they will thus continue to receive financial aid.
Approximately 3,000 students will have their financial aid payments stopped as of January 2019. About 2,000 of these will have their aid payments stopped because they did not reply to the request for further information.
The decision letter informing a student that payment of financial aid will be stopped also explains what the student must do in order to qualify for aid again. The decision is also accompanied by information about other kinds of support available to students.
As of 1 January 2019, the study grant will no longer be subject to withholding tax
The practice of deducting withholding tax from the study grant will change. As of January 2019, withholding tax will no longer automatically be deducted from the study grant. Students are advised to consider this when estimating the withholding tax for their other incomes.
Currently, Kela deducts a withholding tax of 10% from study grants, if the study grant received is at least EUR 170 per month. It is also possible to withhold tax in accordance with a revised tax card submitted to Kela by the student.
However, as of January 2019, withholding tax will no longer be deducted from the study grant. If a student has already submitted a revised tax card to Kela for 2018, the withholding tax for January 2019 will be deducted in accordance with that tax card, and withholding tax will no longer be deducted starting from February 2019.
Although withholding tax will no longer be deducted automatically, students can, however, notify Kela if they would like withholding tax to be deducted and at what rate. The notification can be made by phone, at one of Kela’s service points or by sending a message via Kela’s online customer service.
A revised tax card for wages may be needed
The study grant is taxable income. Students who have no income apart from study grant, do not have to pay income tax on the grant, because students are entitled to a study grant deduction.
If a student has other incomes, the study grant must be taken into account when withholding tax on those incomes. If the total amount of the student’s income (study grant and wages) is likely to exceed the income limit specified on the tax card, the student should order a new revised tax card for wages. Tax cards can be ordered via the Tax Administration’s MyTax online service. When ordering the card, you must state the amount of any study grants, wages or other taxable income already paid to you, and the tax withheld on them as well, and give an estimate of any future incomes.
First-year students - Keep your payslips!
Effect of the student's own income on financial aid Students who are starting their studies this autumn should keep their payslips for all income they have earned starting from the beginning of this year. You may need the payslips in February 2020, when Kela will check the income of those who have received financial aid in 2018.
In the income check, the income of a student who has received student financial aid is compared to his or her annual income limit. The income limit depends on for how many months a student has received financial aid.
A first-year student, who starts his or her studies in September and receives student financial aid for 4 months this year, may earn up to EUR 18,588 this year without the income affecting the amount of financial aid. If the annual income limit is exceeded, the student can provide Kela with information proving that the income was earned before he or she started studying. Even if the income limit is exceeded, the student may receive financial aid for 4 months provided that his or her gross income from the beginning of September until the end of December does not exceed EUR 2,668. If your studies started in August, your income limit is a different one and you can get student financial aid for 5 months this autumn term.
If a new student does not use all the financial aid months available, his or her income limit is raised. On Kela’s website you will find a calculator by means of which you can estimate the final outcome of your income check.
The date of payment of the income is the decisive factor
When checking a student’s income, Kela will take all taxable earned income and capital income, but not student financial aid received, into consideration. Whether any income you have received is considered to have been earned while you were studying, or while you were not studying, depends on when you received the income. If, for example, you are paid a holiday bonus in September, it is considered to be income received during your studies, even though it is a bonus paid for work you did before you started your studies.
When checking your income, your studies are considered to have started in the month as of which you were entitled to receive student financial aid. If, for example, you start your studies on 1 September, but you only apply for financial aid as of the month of November, you are, for the purpose of the income check, still considered to have started your studies in September.
Recipients of student financial aid should check their income and the number of months for which they have received financial aid in spring, at the latest, when they know how much income they earned in total during the previous year. If you find that your income exceeds your annual income limit, you can pay back the overpaid amount of financial aid by the end of May 2019. By paying back overpaid financial aid voluntarily, you will avoid it being collected back at 7.5% interest.
First-year students should keep their payslips as evidence of income received before their first month of study. The payslips must show the date when you received the income in question as well as the amount that you were paid. In February 2020, Kela will send out repayment proposal letters to recipients of student financial aid whose annual income has exceeded their annual income limit. After this, you must prove to Kela what part of your income was earned when you were studying and what part was earned when you were not studying.
Different income limits for student financial aid and housing allowance
Students living in a rented apartment or in an owner-occupied home in mainland Finland are entitled to general housing allowance. Student financial aid and general housing allowance must be applied for separately. These benefits have different income limits and check rules. In the case of general housing allowance, there are no retroactive income checks like the ones for student financial aid.
The amount of housing benefits is affected by the gross income of the persons making up a household. When calculating the amount of housing allowance payable, the income of every member of the same household is taken into account either as an average income or as a regular income.
If a person's income stays the same for at least 3 months starting from the time the housing allowance is granted or reviewed, the allowance is calculated according to that income.
If your income varies and will not be the same for at least 3 months, it will be taken into account as an average income. In such a case, all incomes received during the following 12 months will be taken into account.
Changes in income that affect the general housing allowance must be reported to Kela without delay. You must inform Kela if your household’s income increases by at least EUR 400 per month or decreases by at least EUR 200 per month.
Example of income control (first-year student)
Daniel lives alone in a rented flat. He works from January to August earning EUR 3,000 per month (EUR 24,000 in total). At the beginning of September, he starts a course of studies at an institution of higher education and he receives student financial aid from September to December (4 months). Daniel will not have to pay back any overpaid financial aid as long as he makes sure that he does not earn more than a maximum of EUR 2,668 from September to December, in addition to the student aid that he receives.
If Daniel applies for general housing allowance as of the beginning of September, and earns a maximum income of EUR 665 per month from September to December and if he, in addition to this, receives EUR 250 per month in student financial aid, his income will not reduce the amount of his housing allowance, nor the amount of financial aid.
Additional information for customers:
How income affects financial aid:
By phone Kela’s financial aid helpline for students, tel. 020 634 2550, (Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm).
Kela’s phone service for housing benefits, tel. 020 634 2550, (Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm).
Student financial aid on Facebook (in Finnish only): www.facebook.com/opintotuki
Reminder for students in higher education to check that they meet the minimum credit requirements for financial aid
Students in higher education should check the number of credits they earned in the previous academic year.
Students in higher education must earn at least 5 credits per month of financial aid and at least 20 credits per academic year.
If you did not earn enough credits, return financial aid payments from spring term 2018 voluntarily. The payments can be returned through Kela’s e-service (in Finnish).
Please note that you might get Kela´s request to explain your academic progress in October despite your repayment. If you get Kela´s request, it is compulsory to answer; otherwise your financial aid will be discontinued. See more information about monitoring the academic progress further in this message.
However, returning financial aid voluntarily is not helpful if a student earned fewer than 20 credits in the previous academic year, because financial aid payments received in the previous autumn term can no longer be returned. This means that students should not take out financial aid at all if they expect to earn fewer than 20 credits during the academic year. The 20-credit requirement does not apply to those who begin their first academic year of study in the spring. However, they too are required to earn at least five credits per each month of financial aid.
Kela keeps track of students’ academic progress
Kela monitors the academic progress of higher education students on a yearly basis. Students who do not meet the minimum credit requirement for financial aid are sent a request for further information in October. Both academic progress over the preceding academic year (1 August to 31 July) and the entire period of study are monitored, but progress in individual months is not.
If academic progress is adversely affected by illness or other particular reason, that can be taken into account. Requiring a student to pay back financial aid is considered if he or she has earned less than 1 credit per month of aid during the preceding academic year.
Telephone assistance with student financial aid: 020 634 2550, Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 16:00
Kela´s service points in autumn
Kela will have service points in autumn on Oamk campuses as follows. Come and ask about Kela´s benefits for students.
- Kontinkangas Campus on Thursday 30.8.2018 at 10-13
- Teuvo Pakkala Campus on Monday 3.9.3018 at 10-13
- Kotkantie Campus on Wednesday 5.9.2018 at 10-13
- Oulainen Campus on Tuesday 18.9.2018 at 9.30-12.30
Apply now for student financial aid for summer months!
Students who will be studying in the summer should apply for financial aid now, so that the applications can be processed and decided on before the summer studies start. Apply for student financial aid for the summer months online.
Students can get financial aid in the summer, provided that they will be studying during the summer months. Financial aid is granted for example for lecture courses, set book exams, on-the-job-training or for working on your final project or thesis.
Financial aid for the summer months is available in the form of study grant and government guarantee for student loans. Students who have been granted general housing allowance will continue to receive the allowance regardless of whether they are studying during the summer or not. Recipients of housing allowance must, however, remember to request a review of the allowance for example for summer earnings.
Simplified application process for summer financial aid for students in higher education
To students in higher education financial aid for the summer months is granted in accordance with application. Financial aid is, in other words, granted for the specific period of time that the student has applied for. Higher education students must, however, keep in mind that taking out financial aid for summer study counts towards their total eligibility for financial aid, which is calculated in months. Any summer months for which a student receives financial aid are also taken into account when checking the student’s annual income and monitoring their academic progress.
Applying online is easy
Students can apply for financial aid for the summer months by accessing Kela’s online customer service www.kela.fi/asiointi (in Finnish) or www.fpa.fi/etjanst (in Swedish), or by filling in and printing out form OT 15e ‘Notification of changes, Financial aid for students’.
On the front page of the online customer service, you can, at a glance, check if your application has been decided on and when the payment will be made. The service will also tell you if your online application has been delivered successfully and if there are any supporting documents missing. The service requires users to log in with their online banking ID or a mobile ID.
- On the internet at kela.fi/students
- The customer service number for inquiries related to student financial aid is 020 692 209. The service is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm.
- For more questions and answers about financial aid for the summer months, see https://kysykelasta.kela.fi/ (in Finnish) or www.kela.fi/web/sv/fragafpa (in Swedish)
- Student financial aid on Facebook: facebook.com/opintotuki (in Finnish only)
Earnings from a summer job can affect the amount of the general housing allowance. Students should request a review of their housing benefit as soon as they have a summer job lined up.
The general housing allowance is reviewed if the income of the recipient household increases by 400 euros or more or decreases by 200 euros or more from what it was at the time of the previous determination.
Students should request a review as soon as details of their summer job have been confirmed and they have signed an employment contract to avoid not having to pay back any overpaid benefit afterwards.
It is particularly important to request a review if no other income than the study grant was taken into account when eligibility for the housing allowance was last determined. Students who have earnings that were taken into account when their eligibility was last determined should first use the housing allowance calculator (available in Finnish and Swedish only) to check whether they exceed the limit at which a review should be carried out
Students who do not pay anything for housing in the summer must stop their housing allowance for the duration of the summer.
Request a review online
The quickest and easiest way to request a review is to do so online. Supporting documents can also be sent online. You can take a photo of a supporting document with your phone and send it online if it is clearly legible.
Students who live alone and whose housing costs remain unchanged must attach a picture of their employment contract with the request. A picture of the student’s payslip must also be attached if already available.
Students living with a roommate or a spouse or partner must state the income of all household members and attach appropriate documentation.
When a review is requested on account of a change in income, the housing allowance is reviewed from the beginning of the month following the first full month in which the change in income was in effect.
For example, if the first day of a summer job is
- 1 June, the allowance is reviewed with effect from 1 July
- 4 June, the allowance is reviewed with effect from 1 August.
Housing allowance can be paid during temporary absence from principal residence
Students can be paid housing allowance while living temporarily away from their principal residence. For example, students who have a summer job in another town but continue to pay rent for their principal residence can be paid housing allowance for up to three months. Payment of the housing allowance is stopped at the beginning of the fourth month if the student has not returned to the principal residence by then. Housing allowance can only be paid for one dwelling at a time.
It is granted to the entire household as a whole. The application is made by one household member on behalf of all residents. The income of each household member is taken into account when eligibility is assessed.
The following count as household income for housing allowance purposes: earnings, investment income and many social benefits, including the basic unemployment allowance, labour market subsidy and study grant. The student loan does not count as income.
Additional information for customers:
How income from various sources affects the housing allowance and study grant available to students (available in Finnish and Swedish only)
Effect of income on the amount of housing allowance
Review of housing allowance
The customer service number for inquiries related to housing benefits (020 634 2550) is open Monday to Friday from 9a m to 3 pm.
Changes in Kela´s study progress monitoring
Under the new criteria, the entire period of study will be considered when assessing academic progress, and any higher education studies will count towards meeting the criteria. The change will bring improvements for students who are completing several higher education degrees at the same time. Also any unfinished studies and the months of financial aid related to them will be taken into account when assessing academic progress.
Every year in October, Kela carries out an assessment among higher education students to verify that they are making satisfactory academic progress. Next October, the assessment will focus on the academic year 1 August 2017 – 31 July 2018 and the entire time that a student has pursued higher education studies in Finland.
Progress is deemed as satisfactory if the student has earned at least five credits per month of aid. The assessment looks at the number of credits earned in the previous academic year or, as appropriate, the average number of credits across the entire period of study. Further, students must complete at least 20 credits per academic year to qualify for financial aid.
Students who do not meet the criteria for satisfactory academic progress will receive a request for further information from Kela, giving them the opportunity to explain their lack of progress. If academic progress has slowed temporarily and for a good reason, students may continue to receive financial aid.
Students who know that they will not meet the criteria for satisfactory academic progress can return or pay back financial aid they have received.
More information: www.kela.fi/web/en/study-progress-higher-ed...
Check your incomes earned 2017. Voluntary repayment by 31 of May 2018.
Other income of students affects the amount of months, during which a student can withdraw the financial aid. The income is not checked when the aid is granted, so you must make sure not to exceed the annual exempt amount. You can raise your annual income limit 2017 by voluntarily repaying financial aid by the end of May 2018.
Voluntary repayment of financial aid is a financially more favourable alternative than recovery. By repaying aid voluntarily, you will not have to pay the repayment penalty and voluntarily paid months will be available to you later on.
Check your annual income limit 2017: www.kela.fi/web/en/income-own-income
If your income earned in 2017 exceeds your annual income limit, repay financial aid by the end of May 2018. You can use Kela’s online service at www.kela.fi/asiointi (in Finnish) or the paper form OTm. You must repay both the study grant and the housing allowance (asumislisä). Note, that most likely it is more favourable for you to repay financial aid months from autumn term 2017 than spring term 2017. This because you cannot have received housing allowance (asumislisä) on autumn term and the study grant has been smaller on autumn term.
Did you begin your studies autumn 2017?
In the income check (will be completed in 2019 concerning the year 2017), the income of every receiver of student financial aid is compared to his or her annual income limit. If your income does not exceed your annual income limit, you will not receive a preliminary decision concerning recovery of financial aid. If your income exceeds your annual income limit, you will receive a preliminary decision concerning recovery of financial aid. You will receive a preliminary decision even if you have started your studies in the middle of the year of the income check, because Kela will not know how much of your income you earned during the time that you were studying and how much you earned during the time that you did not study. Keep the payslips for the year when you started your studies and evidence of any other income. You will need them, if you receive a preliminary decision concerning recovery of financial aid.
More information from: www.kela.fi/web/en/student-s-own-income or from Kela´s customer service number 020 634 2550 (Mon–Fri 9–15).
Financial aid for summer months
You can apply financial aid for summer months (June, July, August) by using the Kela´s online service at www.kela.fi/asiointi (in Finnish) or the Notification of changes - Financial aid for students –form, OT 15e (www.kela.fi/web/en/forms).
When applying financial aid for summer months you don´t need to inform Kela about the studies planned for summer months. Kela will grant financial aid for summer months according to your application.
Study Grant Services
Study Grant Services of Oulu University of Applied Sciences will give general guidance for students who receive financial aid.
Kotkantie Campus (Kotkantie 1, 90250 Oulu), F-wing, Student Services
Opening hours Mon–Fri 9–14
opintotuki#oamk.fi (korvaa # -> @) / tel. 020 611 0214
Note! Questions regarding the eligibility for financial aid for students should direct to Kela (tel. 020 634 2550 / 020 634 0200).
Financial Aid Months Are Limited
The number of financial aid months you can use for your studies is limited and depends on the extent of your degree programme and when you began your first course of higher education study. You can normally get 9 months of financial aid per academic year. The months of aid are usually September to May. If you wish to have financial aid for summer months, you have to apply it separately.
Make sure that your remaining financial aid months will last until you will graduate. More information »
If you fall ill and cannot study, you can apply for a sickness allowance. If the length of your period of illness is not known or if you know that it will be longer than two months, you should claim sickness allowance. If you are paid a sickness allowance, you can still continue your studies to a certain extent. More information »
In order to get financial aid, you must make satisfactory progress with your studies. You must complete
- at least 5 credits on average for each month of financial aid and
- at least 20 credits in each academic year.
If you receive financial aid for students, Kela will check your study progress every year in October. If you have not made satisfactory progress, you will receive a request letter from Kela about your academic progress. Reply to Kela and explain the reasons for the lack of progress. You may continue to get financial aid if your progress was slowed temporarily and for an acceptable reason.
If you do not reply or the reasons you provide are not accepted, your financial aid can be
- discontinued or
- made payable for a specified period of time only.
You may also be required to pay back financial aid, if it is discovered that your study progress has been particularly slow and if it is evident that you never intended to study at all.
Changes in Circumstances
Remember to notify Kela about changes in your circumstances. You have to notify Kela if you for example move to a new apartment, get married or start living with someone together, have a child, discontinue your studies or study abroad. More information »
Other income affects the amount of months, during which you can withdraw the financial aid. The income is not checked when the aid is granted, so you must make sure not to exceed the annual income limit. Check your annual income limit »
If your income earned exceeds your annual income limit, repay financial aid by the end of the following May.