Kela has sent out some 47,000 preliminary decisions for the recovery of overpaid student financial aid

Feb 23, 2023 | Bulletin, Kela, News

About 47,000 students receiving financial aid had income in excess of the annual income limit in 2021. They have received a preliminary decision on the recovery of the overpaid financial aid. The number of recipients was higher this year than it was last year.

Kela has sent out proposal letters concerning the recovery of overpaid financial aid to 46,949 students whose income in 2021 exceeded the maximum limit allowed under the student financial aid scheme. The annual income limit varies according to the number of months for which a student takes out financial aid. Students who took out financial aid for nine months in 2021 were permitted other earned income of up to EUR 12,498.

The average amount of financial aid that students are required to pay back is EUR 976. The total amount of financial aid proposed to be recovered under the preliminary decisions is EUR 45.8 million. In 2021, about 320,860 students received financial aid.

Last year, Kela sent repayment proposals to 40,946 students and this year, the number of recipients increased by 6,003 persons.

The annual income check performed now only concerns student financial aid, i.e. study grants and housing supplements. The annual income check does not concern general housing allowance.


The deadline for filing a review request is mid-March at the latest

Students who have received a preliminary decision can submit a request to Kela to review their case. The deadline for requesting a review is 16 March 2023.

Students who have received a preliminary decision should request a review if they began their course of study, graduated or used up their maximum financial aid entitlement during 2021. If the reason for exceeding the annual income limit is income earned during other periods than periods of active study, the overpayment debt may be reduced or waived altogether. The preliminary decision contains instructions for how to file a review request or agree on repayment arrangements.

In previous years, about one in five of those who were sent a repayment proposal were new or graduated students.


Kela refers to the national incomes register for its annual income check

Kela has referred to the national incomes register when checking the income of higher education students who began their studies, graduated or used up their entitlement during 2021. If it is certain, according to this check, that the income earned during the periods of active study has not been too high, Kela does not send a preliminary decision to the student.

Following the check of the data in the national incomes register, the number of preliminary decisions decreased by 4,600.

If a student who started a course of study, graduated or used up his or her maximum financial aid entitlement receives a preliminary decision, the student does not have to enclose any documentation on incomes entered in the national incomes register with the request for review.


Students must keep track of their income total

Students must keep track of their annual income so as not to exceed the income limit. The income limits were raised by 25% at the beginning of 2022 and again at the beginning of 2023. The annual income limit is now EUR 18,720 for students who get financial aid for nine months. In 2022, the annual income limit was EUR 15,630.

Financial aid can be cancelled, stopped or returned easily using the OmaKela e-service. The deadline for returning financial aid voluntarily for 2022 is the end of April 2023. If a student does not cancel or return financial aid, any overpayments of aid are recovered and are subject to a surcharge of 7.5%. This is not interest but a one-time payment.


Additional information for customers

Check that the decision to recover financial aid is correct (elämässä.fi, in Finnish)
Student’s own income (
Telephone assistance with student financial aid: 020 634 2550, Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 15:00
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Media inquiries

Ilpo Lahtinen (Senior Coordinator)040 576