Did you know this about student aid?
Take in these four facts about student aid.
- You must have 18 days of active study during the months when you begin and end your studies
Student aid for higher education studies is generally awarded for nine months, from September to May. The period during which you receive student aid in an academic year may also be shorter or longer than this if you study during the summer months, for instance. However, you should be careful when you start your studies and graduate: you can only receive student aid for the first month of your first year and last month of your last year if you have at least 18 days considered as active study during the month in question. If, for instance, you receive student aid for the month you graduate in but do not have at least 18 days of active study that month, Kela may later request that you repay the student aid for that month.
- You can take out your student loan even if you cancel months of student aid
The number of your months of student aid depends on when you started your studies. Students who started after 1 August 2017 usually have 48 months of student aid. If you are running out of months of aid, you can increase their number by cancelling or paying back student aid. This will also increase your annual income limit.
Even if you cancel months of student aid, you can still take out a student loan if you cancel the aid after the date when the loan can be taken out. You do not need to return any student loans that you have already taken out even if you cancel or pay back student aid. For instance, you cannot take out a student loan in the spring term if you cancel your student aid before 1 January, which is the first day you can take out the loan for the spring. This means that you should not cancel your student aid in advance if you still wish to take out the loan. You can just as well pay back the aid after you have taken out the loan.
- Do not use student aid when sick
As a student, you are entitled to sickness allowance if you fall ill during studies. Short-term illness does not prevent you from receiving student aid, but it is worth considering whether you want to use your months of student aid during your sick leave. If you do not complete enough credits, you may have to provide Kela with further information on your study progress. Using months of student aid when sick may also shorten the time limit for student loan compensation and student loan tax deduction. Their time limit may only be extended due to illness in cases where you have received either sickness allowance or some other benefit based on incapacity for work during your illness.
When you fall ill, you can apply for sickness allowance and continue receiving student aid. If you receive a decision granting you sickness allowance, Kela will automatically suspend your student aid, as you cannot receive the two benefits at the same time. You can still continue your studies while receiving sickness allowance as Kela allows studying to a minor extent – 40% of the targeted study progress for the academic term or year. In higher education institutions, this translates into 3 credits per month, 12 credits per academic term and 24 credits per academic year.
- You receive a greater amount of student loan for the duration of your exchange
You can receive student aid from Kela during your exchange, too. The amount of student aid during exchange is the same as for those studying in Finland, but the amount of the government guarantee for the student loan is greater. Those studying in Finland may receive a maximum of 650 euros of student loan per month, whereas those studying abroad may claim a maximum of 800 euros per month. Remember to inform Kela of your studies abroad.
You cannot receive general housing allowance for studies abroad. However, if you live in a rental apartment in your target country, you may receive the housing supplement of student aid. The amount of the supplement is 210 euros per month, which is not affected by the amount of rent.
Do you still have questions?
Please contact: Tiia Niemi, 050 543 0908, email@example.com