Managing financially during studies

There are at least as many ways to cope financially during studies as there are students. There are different alternatives for you to explore, whether you are currently unemployed, laid off, working part-time, an entrepreneur, or working full-time.

As a student, your potential sources of income consist of student financial aid from Kela, potential earnings from your work, and unemployment benefits. If you are further along in your career, you may also be entitled to adult education allowance or job alternation compensation. Other possibilities include a paid apprenticeship arrangement and various grants and scholarships.

In addition to earnings from your work, you can only receive one benefit at a time. You should also take into account that your pay affects the amount of benefits you can receive. There are income limits applicable to student financial aid, the adult education allowance is subject to an additional income limit, and unemployment benefits are adjusted to your earnings. Job alternation compensation is also reduced if you receive other income during your leave.

You must register as a job seeker to be entitled to unemployment benefits. As a job seeker, you are obligated to notify your local TE Office or local government pilot of all studies to determine their potential impact on your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Note that if you cut back on your working hours or quit your job to study, you also lose your right to receive unemployment benefits.

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Financing your studies in different situations

Studying while unemployed 

While unemployed, you can finance your studies with either unemployment benefits, or student financial aid from Kela if your studies last two months or longer. Studies agreed in advance with your expert at the local TE Office or local government pilot do not prevent you from receiving unemployment benefits. Labour market training is free of charge, and you can also be paid an expense allowance.

Studying while working full-time 

If you are working full-time, you can finance your studies with your earned income, student financial aid, adult education allowance, or job alternation compensation. In addition to earnings from your work, you can only receive one benefit at a time. You should also take into account that your pay affects the amount of benefits you can receive. If your studies last longer than two months, you are entitled to student financial aid or adult education allowance.

Studying while working part-time 

When working part-time, you can finance your studies with your earned income or an unemployment benefit adjusted to your earnings. If your studies last longer than two months, you are also entitled to student financial aid or adult education allowance. 

Studying while laid off 

If you are laid off, the options for financing your studies are the same as if you were unemployed. You must register as a job seeker and notify your local TE Office or local government pilot of your studies.

Studying as an entrepreneur 

As a full-time entrepreneur, you can finance your studies with the income from your business or if your studies last longer than two months, with student financial aid or the entrepreneur’s adult education allowance. Part-time entrepreneurs have the same options as unemployed persons.

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Different types of benefits

Student financial aid

Student financial aid is meant to support you during your studies. The conditions for granting financial aid are different for higher and upper secondary education.

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Adult education allowance

If you have at least eight years of work experience in any field and have been employed by your current workplace for at least a year, an adult education allowance paid by the Employment Fund may be a good solution for supporting yourself while studying. 

You can only receive the allowance while on study leave or other unpaid leave. If you wish to work alongside your studies or you have other sources of income, you may be entitled to an adult education allowance adjusted to your earnings.

There is an adult education allowance for entrepreneurs, as well.

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Job alternation compensation

If you are working full-time, you can make a job alternation arrangement with your employer. You will receive job alternation compensation during your leave. If you are a member of an unemployment fund, you claim job alternation compensation from the unemployment fund. If you are not a member, you submit an application to Kela.

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Social assistance

As a student, you may be entitled to basic social assistance, also known as income support, in certain situations, such as when your financial aid payments have been stopped or you have used up all of your eligibility for financial aid. You may also be entitled to social assistance over the summer if studying is not possible and you have not managed to find employment. Please note that your situation in life and your existing assets affect your right to basic social assistance. Social assistance is a last-resort form of financial assistance.

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