Financing your studies

The instruction belongs to the following themes

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

Studies can be financed in many ways. On this page you can find general information on how to finance your studies.

General information on financing your studies

As a student, your subsistence usually consists of the student financial aid and general housing allowance. In addition to these, you can take out a government-guaranteed student loan. Please refer to the Students section on Kela's website for information on student financial aid. Information on other student benefits offered by Kela, such as meal subsidy, can also be found on their website.

For detailed instructions, see the Student Union's guide on subsistence.

If you are a foreign student studying in Finland, please refer to Kela's instructions on eligibility for financial aid.

Most students work part-time to finance their studies. Read more about working while studying.

See also the grants and scholarships offered by The University of Helsinki Funds to students and researchers of the University of Helsinki.

General information on student financial aid

How to apply for student financial aid?

As a university student, you can apply for student financial aid. To apply for student financial aid, you need to submit an application form. The form can also be submitted via Kela’s e-services (currently not available in English). Please refer to the Kela website for information on student financial aid and any recent changes to it.

Is my student financial aid affected by any other income I may receive?

Your income always affects the number of months in which you are eligible to receive student financial aid each year. You have to ensure that your annual income does not exceed the specified limit.

Please refer to the Kela website for more information on how your own income affects student financial aid.

The monitoring of the progress of studies in relation to student financial aid

You must make progress in your studies to remain eligible for student financial aid. The progress of students who receive financial aid is evaluated annually. Every October, Kela monitors students’ progress for the preceding academic year.

You can find more information on study progress on the Kela website.

What should I do if I'm not making progress in my studies?

If you are not making the required progress in your studies, your options are as follows:

  • do not collect financial aid for all of your months of studying
  • cancel your financial aid ahead of time for the months you have chosen
  • seek further assistance from the university’s Student Services.

What should I do if I am taken ill?

If you are taken ill and do not make the required progress in your studies, you can cancel your student financial aid and apply for sickness allowance and general housing allowance. This way you can avoid using up your months of eligibility for student financial aid unnecessarily. You can start making use of them again when you are fit to continue your studies.

For more information on sickness allowance, including how to apply and how it relates to student financial aid, please refer to the Kela website.

Extending the maximum eligibility period for student financial aid

The maximum period of eligibility for financial aid for your degree depends on the scope of the degree and the academic year in which you began your studies.

If you have used up your maximum period of eligibility for student financial aid but your studies have been temporarily delayed due to illness or some other weighty reason, you may be granted a discretionary extension of student financial aid for a period of no more than nine months.

More information on eligibility periods is available on Kela's website.

Where can I get advice related to student financial aid?

If you can’t find the information you need online, you can call the Kela service number for students on 020 692 209 (Mon–Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). You can also visit any Kela service point in person. See Kela's contact details and opening hours.

Student financial aid for summer studies

When you decide to study full-time in the summer, you can apply for student financial aid for the summer months. When the course availability for the summer term has been confirmed, prepare a study plan and ensure that your summer studies will satisfy the minimum credit requirements for eligibility for student financial aid.

The summer is normally considered to consist of June, July and August. You can get financial aid for degree studies: for example, attending lectures, exams, job training or working on a thesis.

To apply for student financial aid for the summer, submit a notification of changes to Kela. This is easiest to do via Kela’s e-services, but they are currently only available in Finnish and Swedish. Alternatively, you can complete the form for notifying Kela of changes to student financial aid.

You can find more information on financing summer studies on the Kela website.

Studying on unemployment benefit

Have you discontinued your studies due to work, only to subsequently lose your job and have a difficulties finding new employment? Do you think your employment prospects might be improved by a bachelor’s or master’s degree? Do you want to complete a degree or parts of a degree, but you don’t know how to finance your studies? Did you know that you can study on unemployment benefit?

What studies are allowed on unemployment benefit?

The benefit is discretionary and decision on granting the benefit is made by Employment and Economic Development Offices (TE Offices). The benefit is not granted for just any studies: In order to be eligible in the eyes of the TE Offices, the studies must be appropriate from a labour policy perspective and they must promote the student’s professional capacity and improve his or her employment prospects. The TE Office recognizes and approves the applicant’s need for education and issues a decision on granting the benefit for the purpose of studying.

How do I apply for the benefit?

If you are customer at a TE Office and plan to study, please tell your TE officer about your plans as soon as possible! The benefit must be applied for through a TE Office before the supported studies begin. The TE Office website includes detailed and current information on the conditions for application as well as information on this form of support and the necessary forms.

What do you need from student services?

The Student Service Point of your faculty will confirm and complete the TE form with information on the studies missing from your degree and calculate the number of months it will take to complete the degree (5 credits/month). Student Services will also issue an official transcript to enclose with your application.

If you are a new student or wish to complete pedagogical studies with unemployment benefit, the form is completed by Kaisa House Student Services.

Social assistance

You can apply for social assistance if your income and assets do not cover your essential daily expenses. Read more information on social assistance on Kela's website. Before applying for social assistance, find out whether you qualify for financial aid for students, i.e. study grant, student loan and housing allowance. If you do not qualify for financial aid for students, you must have some primary source of livelihood other than basic social assistance, such as paid employment.

Basic social assistance is a form of last-resort financial assistance, which means that you must first apply for any other benefits to which you may be entitled. In addition to financial aid for students, these forms of assistance include unemployment benefits, adult education subsidy, general housing allowance, parental allowance, sickness allowance and child care allowances. Read more on how other benefits affect basic social assistance on Kela's website.