Student financial aid provides economic security during education. Its purpose is to enable equal access to education regardless of one's background.
Financial aid is means tested and conditional on admission to an educational institution. Recipients must study full-time and make satisfactory academic progress. The amount of financial aid depends on the age, accommodation, marital status, level of education and income of the student as well as (in certain situations) parental income.
For statistical purposes, recipients of financial aid are considered to include persons who, during the reference period, were paid study grant or housing supplement or had a state guarantee for a student loan. The financial aid statistics of Kela are compiled from individual-level statistical registers, which are based on databases used by the administrative systems for providing student financial aid.
The number of financial aid recipients is typically analysed by academic year. The trend in the number of recipients reflects changes in the number of students and the financial aid eligibility criteria, such as income limits. An annual income limit was introduced on 1 January 1998 and raised on 1 January 2008. The establishment and expansion of universities of applied sciences between 1997 and 2000 is reflected in a rapid increase in the number of recipients during the late 1990s.
In 2014 and 2015 the higher education institutes were given 3000 new places for new students, which may influence the number of recipients of financial aid.