Are you a Finnish resident who has been granted a place to study? If so, you can already apply for student financial aid and for a housing allowance from the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela).
According to a statement released by Kela, once students have confirmed (or accepted) their place of study can apply for financial aid, which may be granted from the beginning of the month in which the application arrives at their offices. Kela reminds that the financial aid for the entire course of study should be requested at one time.
The students can apply for the financial aid even if they have not yet arranged their accommodation in the town or city where they will study. Once housing has been arranged, the student must file a notification of move, for instance online HERE
Kela will check the student's accommodation when the first study grant for the autumn has been paid.
Already know where will live? Apply now
Kela remarks that the students should apply for a housing allowance as soon as they have entered a rental agreement and have information about their income, housing costs and other living circumstances during the next autumn. Students under 18 years of age who independently move into rental housing can apply for a housing allowance after they have received a decision on the student financial aid.
Housing allowance can be granted starting from 1 August if the rental agreement is valid from this day and the student moves into the new home in August. Furthermore, the application should be submitted to Kela by the end of September.
The general housing allowance is granted to the entire household as a whole. The application is made by one household member on behalf of all residents. A household includes spouses/partners or close relatives (grandparents, parents and children) who live in the same home, or persons renting a home under a joint rental agreement.
The award of housing benefits is affected by the regular income of all the persons making up a household. Earnings, capital income and most benefits, such as student financial aid, are counted as the household’s income. The student loan does not count as income.
A rental agreement needed
Kela reminds that when applying for this benefit, the rental agreement must always be enclosed with the application. A rental agreement is also needed when the applicant lives in a student apartment. Unless the information of the rental agreement is provided to Kela electronically by the landlord.
A student housing supplement may be available to those who are studying abroad or in the Åland Islands.
A supplement is also paid to the students who are enrolled in a tuition-based programme at a Finnish folk high school or sports institute and live in the school dormitory. The student housing supplement is applied for with the same application as the student financial aid.
How to send an online application
Students can estimate what type of benefits they can receive and the amount of those benefits with the help of Kela's calculators. However, it is possible that foreign students have difficulties to use these tools if they do not understand Finnish or Swedish. The calculators can be accessed in Finnish HERE or in Swedish HERE
Supporting documentation can be also sent online.
Beware of income limits
The Social Insurance Institution stresses that the students who receive both housing allowance and student financial aid must keep track of the annual income limit in connection with student financial aid and the monthly earnings that affect the housing allowance.
General housing allowance must be reviewed if the income of the household increases by at least 400 € per month or decreases by at least 200 € per month compared to the previous housing allowance decision.
The changes in income must be reported to Kela without delay. Before submitting a request for a review of the housing allowance, it is possible to check if a review is necessary by calling Kela’s customer service number: 020 634 2550.
In case of disabilities
Kela also offers students who suffer due to a disability or impairment the possibility to apply for an interpreter for the next autumn. You can get more information on this benefit HERE
The applicant must submit an application for the right to interpreter assistance for students as soon as gets the decision stating he or she that has been granted a place of study. Kela recommends to book an interpreter well in advance.
If you need more information about the benefits for students provided by Kela, you can find it HERE