Financing your studies in Finland is dependent on your individual situation. This page includes information about the support provided by Kela to students as well as grants and scholarships.
Student financial aid
You are eligible to receive student financial aid (opintotuki) from Kela if:
- you are registered in the Population Information System (väestötietojärjestelmä) as a permanent resident of Finland,
- you have the necessary residence permit (oleskelulupa) and
- your reason for being in Finland is something other than studies.
If you move to Finland for studies, you cannot receive student financial aid. Exchange students, for example, will not receive Finnish student financial aid.
The student financial aid comprises the study grant and government guarantee for a student loan.
You can receive student financial aid if:
- you are studying in an upper secondary school.
- you are studying in a university of applied sciences or completing vocational continuing education.
- you are studying in an institute of higher learning.
You are eligible for the study grant if you are over 17 years old. The studies must be full-time. This means that studies are currently your primary task. You can work alongside your studies. The pay you receive for your work may reduce the amount of student financial aid you receive.
The study grant and government guarantee for student loans must be applied for from Kela.
Kela pays the study grant into your bank account on a monthly basis. Many factors affect the size of the study grant. The size of the grant is determined, among other things, by how old you are, whether you live independently or with a parent, are married and have children who are minors.You can confirm the size of your study grant on the Kela website or at a Kela office.
A student loan is not mandatory. You can only take out a certain maximum amount. You can choose the amount of student loan you wish to take out. The loan is guaranteed for the student by the Finnish government. Apply for a loan at a bank after receiving a decision on the government guarantee from Kela. You must pay back the student loan once you have finished your studies.
You can also apply for student loan when you are completing continuing education (täydennyskoulutus) as an adult. In addition, you can receive adult education subsidy (aikuiskoulutustuki).
In some cases, you may also receive housing supplement, for example if you study at a folk high school in a field of study that is subject to a charge and you live in the student halls of residence. Read more on the pages of Kela.
InfoFinland page Housing allowance provides information about the general housing allowance of Kela.
School transport subsidy
School transport subsidy (koulumatkatuki) compensates the costs of school transport. You are eligible for school transport subsidy if you are studying and living in Finland and your school trip is long.
In some situations, you may be eligible for school transport subsidy if you are studying in an upper secondary school, vocational institute or are in preparatory education for either. You must have at least 10 transport days per month and your school trip must be long enough to qualify for support. Ask your school whether you are entitled to receive school transport subsidy.
If you are studying at an institute of higher education, you can also receive meal subsidy (ateriatuki). Meal subsidy is only available in the cafeterias of educational institutes. It means that students pay less for the meals than other customers. You do not need to separately apply for the meal subsidy, it is deducted from the price of the meal. You simply need to present your student card when paying for your meal.
You are not eligible for meal subsidy if you are in Finland for practical training (työharjoittelu) related to a foreign study programme.
Grants and scholarships
Foreign students can apply for different grants to Finnish higher education institutions. Each Finnish higher education institution has its own grant system for students who come from outside the EU/EEA area and who have been accepted to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the English language.
The grant may be dependent, for example, on your study success. The grant may cover the whole tuition fee or a part thereof. Some grants may also cover other costs. In some cases, the grant is tied to a certain level of success in your studies. Usually, you can apply for a grant at the same time you apply for a study place.
The special Erasmus Mundus master’s degree programmes also have their own grant systems. The Finnish National Agency for Education has scholarship programmes for postgraduates who come to Finland to complete their doctoral thesis. American students can apply for the Fulbright scholarship.
Read more about grants and scholarships at Studyinfinland.fi.