Income of higher education students
As a student, your livelihood may be based on student financial aid and a wage, if you work alongside your studies. If necessary, you can also receive a housing allowance and basic social assistance.
As a student at an institution of higher education, your primary source of financial support will be student financial aid from KelaOpens in a new window.. Apply for student financial aid immediately after accepting a study place at your educational institution. Submit your application on time, as you cannot receive student financial aid retroactively.
The amount of the student financial aid and the length of the aid period will vary depending on your studies and life situation.
Student financial aid includes
A housing supplement is only granted in certain cases, for example to students living abroad.
If you live in Finland, you can also apply for the general housing allowance from KelaOpens in a new window.. You can receive housing allowance and student financial aid at the same time. A housing allowance is intended for people with a small income to subsidise their housing expenses. The amount of housing allowance one is entitled to depends on your housing costs, your total monthly income and the municipality in which the residence is located.
If you do not have enough money to cover basic living costs, you can apply for basic social assistance from KelaOpens in a new window. to cover your essential daily expenses. However, social assistance is only intended as a last resort. You must primarily rely on a study grant, a student loan, housing allowance, earnings and other benefits and income. As a student, you must apply for a student loan before applying for social assistance.
If you are unable to study because of an illness, you can go on sick leave. During sick leave, you may receive sickness allowanceOpens in a new window..
You cannot collect student financial aid and sickness allowance at the same time. You can apply for sickness allowance and continue collecting student financial aid until Kela grants you sickness allowance. Kela will then terminate your student financial aid automatically, so you do not have to do it yourself.
The salary you receive for employment will affect how many months a year, you can receive a study grant.
Ask Kela for your annual income limit for student financial aid. The limit is based on the number of months you receive a study grant over the course of the year. Your annual income limit is used to determine your salary and other income you can receive during the year, before you have to return your study grant. Please note that Kela will check this by calendar year not by semester. Your summer job salary will be included in your annual income.
Keep a journal of your income during the year, so that you can assess how much you can work. You can also see your salary information in the Incomes RegisterOpens in a new window.. If you notice that you may exceed the annual limit, cancel your study grant in advance. If you have already exceeded the limit, you must return to Kela the excess study grant and any housing supplement that have been paid to you. Such a return must be made by the end of April of the following year. You do not need to return a student loan that you have already taken out even if you have exceeded the income limit.
If you exceed your annual income limit and fail to do anything about the matter, Kela will recover the overpaid amount plus an additional 7.5 per cent. You will also not be able to utilise the financial aid months for which money has been recovered at a later time.
Your income also affects your housing allowance. If your income increases, you must submit a notification to Kela for housing allowance.
You do not need to pay any taxes for housing allowance or basic social assistance. A study grant is also tax-exempt if it is your only source of income. If you also have other sources of income, a study grant will impact the tax rate you must pay on your earnings.
You should estimate your taxable income for the whole year and add it to the study grant paid to you during the year. If your income and study grant exceed the income limit specified on your tax card, you should order a new tax card from the Finnish Tax Administration’s MyTax online serviceOpens in a new window.. Remember to keep a close eye on the income limit specified on your tax card during the year so that you do not need to pay additional taxes.
If you have been granted a sickness allowance this is taxable income. If you receive grants, check each one case-by-case to determine whether you need to pay taxes on them.
The student loan is a government-guaranteed loan that must be repaid. If Kela grants you a loan guarantee, you can apply for a student loan a bank of your choice. Agree on a repayment schedule with your bank.
Kela may pay back part of your student loan if you complete your higher education studies within the targeted time. The student loan compensation paid by Kela may be up to one third of your student loan. It can mean a reduction of more than 6,000 euros and if you have taken a higher education degree in a foreign country, you may save up to 12,000 euros.
You are eligible for student loan compensationOpens in a new window. if you have started higher education studies in autumn 2014 or after that. As a rule, you do not need to apply for the compensation. However, there are a few exceptions and they concern Bachelor’s degrees and degrees taken outside Finland.
Remember that the study period considered in student loan compensation always starts from the beginning of the term when you accepted your first study place in any higher education institution. The terms during which you are registered as absent or have interrupted your studies are also included in your study period.
As a student at an institution of higher education, you can apply for separate grants and scholarships to fund your studies. However, please note that you will have a better chance of receiving grants at the later stages of your studies. For example, you may be given a grant to complete your thesis.
The parties that most commonly give out grants include funds and foundations. Also, municipalities, associations and companies may give out grants. In order to be eligible for a grant, the applicant must generally meet with certain conditions specified by the party giving the grant.