Student financial aid in Finland

The purpose of student financial aid is to safeguard a minimum income for students in need of financial support during their studies.

The education policy objectives serve as the foundation for the development of the student financial aid scheme. The goal is to provide students with sufficient financial aid that promotes full-time studies in accordance with the student’s plans and to help shorten the duration of studies.


Student financial aid is provided in form of the following benefits:

  • Study grant
  • Housing supplement
  • Government guarantee for a student loan and interest assistance (which means that Kela pays the interests on a government-guaranteed student loan for all those who have a low income)
  • Student loan compensation for higher education students who have graduated within the target time
  • School transport subsidy which is available for full-time students in general upper secondary education and initial vocational education
  • Meal subsidy which is paid to student restaurants and means that higher education students can buy meals at a discounted price. In upper secondary schools, initial vocational education institutions and some folk high schools students get free meals.

Financial aid for students (Kela – The Social Insurance Institution of Finland)

What kind of studies qualify for financial aid?

Student financial aid is granted for full-time studies at an upper secondary school, folk high school, vocational school or institution of higher education.

Who can receive student financial aid?

Financial aid for students is mainly available for Finnish citizens.

As a rule, students who are not Finnish citizens and have come to Finland for study purposes are not, eligible for financial aid in Finland.

A foreigner who has come to Finland for purposes other than to study and resides here permanently is eligible for student financial aid. The purpose for which a person has come to Finland is assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Aliens Act.

Student financial aid is granted by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) in cooperation with the education institution concerned. 

Eligibility for financial aid (Kela – The Social Insurance Institution of Finland)

Financial aid for international students

The provision of financial aid for studies abroad promotes international student mobility. Student financial aid schemes are based on the national legislation of each country and therefore vary from country to country. Foreign students who come to Finland to study are usually covered by the aid schemes of their home countries.

Financial aid abroad (Kela – The Social Insurance Institution of Finland)

Links to other websites

Virpi Hiltunen, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Education and Culture, Nuoriso- ja liikuntapolitiikan osasto (NUOLI), Strategia- ja ohjausryhmä (SORY) Telephone:0295330110   Email Address: