Financing your exchange period

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Financing your exchange period

Already when you start planning your exchange period, it is good to make a budget and think of a destination that you are afford to. Your budget can consist of the following:

  1. Financial support (=grant) paid by LAB
  2. KELA student financial aid
  3. Possible grants from private foundations
  4. Your own savings

LAB financial support

Financial support (= grant) by LAB is determined by the exchange programme as well as the destination, length of the exchange period and according to the study plan. The grant is paid for the period and extent of studies, that student is present and completing studies in partner institution or placement organisation. Days spent at the destination before/after the exchange programme or placement starts/ends, are not supported. Possible orientation before the official start of the courses on the other hand is counted into the duration.

Read more: grants for exchange studies or grants for placement abroad.

LAB financial support amounts and terms can be found at the end of this page (LAB Financial support 2023-2024 -pdf).

Disability support – for people who have special needs

If you are thinking that you are not able to go for exchange for example because of your physical health, it is time to throw those prejudices to waste bin!

Participation of people with special needs in Erasmus+ and Nordplus -exchange programmes is supported additionally. This special group is considered to include persons whose participation in the programme would not be possible due to their physical or mental health without additional financial support. Disability support is granted in addition to the normal exchange grant and based on the actual extra costs that the exchange causes. Read more about the disability support Additional grants -page.

Further information on disability support and experience stories you will find from the Finnish national agency for education's website. Regarding Erasmus+ programme, read more Erasmus+ mobility programme -page.

Erasmus+ additional grants

The Erasmus+ programme also supports the mobility of students who are at a disadvantage when it comes to participating in exchanges. In Finland, it has been decided to pay additional grant for the mobility of students with families, students who are working as caregiver, students with refugee background or students with severe health conditions or disabilities. Read more from Additional grants -page.

Starting from 2022-2023 onward in Erasmus+ programme, you can receive an extra support if you use environmentally friendly, sustainable means of transport for your trip to and from your host country. Read more about the green travel from Green travel -page.

Kela benefits abroad

The same rules about Kela student financial aid apply to students, whether they study in Finland or abroad.

The grant you receive from LAB for your studies/placement abroad will not be taken into consideration to your annual income in Kela. But the possible pay you get directly from your placement company is taken into account to your annual income.

If you receive study aid from Kela, you have to inform Kela about your stay abroad early enough. The notification of a change in circumstances is made electronically via Kela's electronic system (“olosuhdemuutosilmoitus”). You need to have at least 18 days in the destination in the months of arrival and departure to receive the study aid and housing allowance for those months. You need to gain an average of at least 5 ECTS credits / study support month. You can add travel days to the Kela notification (4 days maximum). However, please note that you can only inform the actual study / placement days for the LAB grant application in the LAB Mobility-Online program.

Please have a look at the Kela site in order to get the most up-to-date information.

Grants from private foundations

You can also look for alternative ways to fund your exchange as many associations and foundations offer grants or scholarships. You can start from the following sites which list a whole lot of different foundations and the basis they give grants for:

Applying for additional grants is something that you must take care of yourself. If there’s something that you need to know regarding the grant, contact the foundation directly instead of LAB International Mobility Services. You can apply for grants from as many places as you want. Once you have done one good application, it is easy to modify it in the needs of each foundation. If you are not from Finland, you can look for private foundations from your home country.