How much can you earn if you receive financial aid and housing allowance?
Any student financial aid and housing allowances you get can be affected by your income, but there is no single income limit that applies to both. The student financial aid and housing allowance schemes each have their own, completely different limits and rules when it comes to income from other sources.
The student financial aid scheme operates on the basis of an annual income limit, which varies based on the number of months for which you receive financial aid. For purposes of student financial aid, it is not relevant at which point during the year you earn your income. The housing allowance scheme has no specific annual limit on income. Instead, your income is considered on a month-to-month basis.
What are the income limits for financial aid and where can you check what limits apply to you?
The number of months for which you get financial aid affects your annual income limit. The more months you get financial aid, the lower is your annual income limit.
The income limits were increased across the board for 2023. If you get financial aid for nine months, you can earn up to 18,720 euros per year without it affecting the amount of your financial aid. For purposes of student financial aid, it is not relevant at which point during the year you earn your income.
Be sure to keep track of your income. One way to check your income limit for financial aid is to visit the OmaKela e-service, where you can also look up preliminary information on your annual income starting in April. Another way to check your income is to have a look at your pre-completed tax return or to consult the Incomes Register.
What is the income limit for the housing allowance?
The housing allowance scheme has no specific annual limit on income. Instead, your income is considered on a month-to-month basis. For purposes of the housing allowance, your future income is estimated either as a continuous income stream or as an average. Continuous income means that your income stays the same for at least three months starting from when the housing allowance is granted or reviewed.
The average-income basis of estimation is used if your income varies over time. This method takes in all of the income you are expected to earn during the following 12 months. Your monthly income is calculated by dividing your total income for the next 12 months by 12.
Each month, you can earn up to 300 euros in salaries or self-employment income without it affecting your housing allowance. For example, if you are paid 800 euros per month, 500 euros of it is taken into account when calculating your housing allowance.
Keep in mind that the combined income of all household members affects the amount of the housing allowance. If you live alone or with a roommate but you have a separate lease, you are your own household of one.
What if there is a change in my monthly income or I exceed the annual income limit?
You do not have to notify Kela if you exceed the annual income limit for student financial aid. If you exceed the limit during the calendar year, you can raise the limit by cancelling financial aid months beforehand. The alternative is to return financial aid that you have been paid. The deadline for that is the end of April the following year.
Your income is monitored after the fact on the basis of tax information. If your annual income exceeds the specified limit, financial aid will be recovered from you. The amount recovered is increased by 7.5 percent.
You must apply for a review of your housing allowance if your household’s combined income increases by 400 euros per month or more. You must report the increase as soon as you learn of it. If you do not report it, you may be overpaid housing allowance and may have to pay it back.
Students who receive housing allowance payments should also contact Kela if their income decreases by 200 euros per month or more or if their housing costs increase by at least 50 euros per month.
Kela reviews the housing allowance at least once a year. You will receive a letter about the review roughly two months before it is carried out. If you do not submit the application for a review by the specified deadline, Kela will terminate your housing allowance.
For many students, the review deadline is the beginning of August, or one year after the housing allowance was granted, assuming there have been no changes to the allowance over the past year. They will receive a letter informing them of the review in June. This means that if the review deadline is 1 August, the application must reach Kela by the end of June.
You can look up your deadline for an annual review in OmaKela.
What kind of changes must be reported to Kela?
You must tell Kela if there is a change in your circumstances, such as if you move house or if your household composition changes (you and your partner start living together, for instance). You must also tell Kela if you take on a subtenant or if a subtenant moves out. All such changes affect your housing allowance.
You do not have to tell Kela about changes in your housing arrangements, except if you move into our out of your parents’ home. You must also tell Kela if you have earned income from abroad.
How are the income limits financial aid determined in the first year of study or the year of graduation?
In the first year of study, it is important to make sure that the income you earn while a student does not exceed the income limit for financial aid. does not This rule also applies to the year of graduation. The income limit is calculated by allowing 1,040 euros for each month in which you receive financial aid and 3,120 euros for each month of study in which you do not receive financial aid. The corresponding limits for 2022 were 870 euros for each month with financial aid and 2,600 euros for each month of study without financial aid.
What counts is not the income you earn in a specific month but your total income in all months of study. As long as your income while a student does not exceed the income limit applicable to the study months, you can earn any amount before starting your studies or after graduating.
To keep track of your income, you can (and should) use the calculator available on Kela’s website.
If there is a change in your income after you graduate, tell Kela immediately so that the housing allowance is paid correctly. Maintaining student status is not a requirement for the housing allowance, so you can continue to receive it if your income remains low.