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Finland - Guidance to Apply for Student Loan

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Contents

Introduction

A student loan will make your life easier. With finances in order, you can focus all your energy on studying. The affordable interest rate and flexible repayment schedule will make you feel secure.

Eligibility

You are eligible for a student loan if you study full time. Since the government guarantees the student loan, no other security or guarantee is required.

To qualify for a government loan guarantee, you must be in receipt of a Study Grant or adult education subsidy. Students in higher education who are being paid study grant are awarded the government loan guarantee without application. However, even if you are not in receipt of a Study Grant, you may qualify for a loan guarantee if

  • you are between 18 and 19 years of age, and are ineligible to receive the Study Grant on account of your parents' income
  • you are under 17 years of age, live by yourself, and are ineligible to receive the Study Grant on account of your entitlement to the Child Benefit (a parental income test applies).

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Instructions

With the government guarantee for study loan student can apply for a bank loan. No other security is needed for these loans. The loan is repayable but guaranteed by the Government. The maximum amount of state-guaranteed loan is determined annually. The student loan is granted by a bank at its discretion. The interest and other terms are agreed by the bank and the student. The payback time is usually twice the duration of studies.

Required Information

  • Personal identity code
  • Given name and surname
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Account number
  • Educational institution and campus
  • Faculty, degree programme or study module
  • Degree/qualification taken
  • Previous studies
  • Parents and parental income
  • Applicant’s signature

Procedure

Applying for the Government's Student Loan Scheme

For the application, you will need Kela’s decision on student financial aid in the form of a state guarantee. First apply for student financial aid. With the same application, for can apply for a student grant, a housing supplement and the state guarantee from Kela.

Kela is a Finnish government agency in charge of settling benefits under national social security programs.

Besides the Study Grant and the Housing Supplement, the financial aid system also includes an arrangement by which student loans are guaranteed by the government. The loans themselves are granted by banks.

Financial aid can be granted from the beginning of the month in which your application was received by Kela or your school. You can apply for a loan guarantee for the entire duration of your studies, but Kela will grant it one year at a time and check your eligibility before each academic year.

Once you have been granted a loan guarantee, you can contact a bank of your choice and agree the loan terms (including interest and repayment). The bank is notified by Kela of the loan guarantee details. If you are under 18, you must have a power of attorney and the written consent of your legal guardian to apply for a loan.

You must repay the loan after completing your studies. If you experience repayment difficulties, do not hesitate to contact your lender bank.


Applying for a Student Loan – Banks

Make enquiries to as many banks as you can to see what they offer - the differences in rates, margins and charges can be substantial

The banks have specialists who will also explain tax issues - they will tell you which documents the tax authority requires

Contact the banks directly to arrange interviews. You can make a formal loan application at an interview if you wish.

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Required Documents

  • Application form
  • Identification documents
  • Academic documents

Fees

Explain the fees structure which is required for obtaining the certificate/document.

Validity

In higher education, the maximum eligibility period for financial aid is determined by reference to how long your line of study is normally considered to take.

Documents to Use

Application forms

Sample Documents

Please attach sample completed documents that would help other people.

Processing Time

Please explain processing time taken in obtaining the document/certificate.

Office Locations & Contacts

Contact Social Insurance Institution (KELA)

Social Insurance Institution (KELA) Central administration

Customer Service Locator

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Video

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type="website">video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the "&" inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0US7oR_t3M" Video ID is "Y0US7oR_t3M". 
	

Information which might help

Student financial aid is granted for a predetermined period, depending on the level of education. The amount of aid depends on the student's age, the form of housing, the level of education and means-testing. In higher education, the means-testing usually concerns the student's own income, at other levels the parents' income also influences the amount of aid.

The aid is granted by the Social Insurance Institution (KELA) in cooperation with the education institution concerned.

Kela will not normally provide loan guarantees to students who have previously defaulted on a student loan, requiring Kela to pay it back, or who have an impaired credit record. In such a case, you can submit a statement explaining your situation, after which Kela will reconsider your eligibility for a loan guarantee.

The amount of loan guaranteed depends on your age and what level of education you are pursuing. It is up to you to choose how much loan you wish to take out.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate

Interest assistance, which is available to those who have a low income.

Assistance for school travel, which is available for full-time student of an upper secondary school or basic vocational education.

Meal subsidy, which is paid to student cafés and higher education students can buy meals for a subsidized price. In upper secondary schools, in initial vocational education and in some folk high schools students get free meals.

External Links

Social Insurance Institution (KELA)

Ministry of Education and Culture

Student financial aid in Finland

Government guarantee for student loans

Others

The loan disbursements are specified in the decision concerning eligibility for financial aid. Interest is capitalized (added to the loan principal) if it falls due during a semester in which the student receives financial aid or during the immediately following semester.

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