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 (aka 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 organization. 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.
Application for the grant is done in LAB Mobility-Online and you can complete it once the agreement of your exchange period is signed by all parties and saved to Mobility-Online. The grant is paid in two instalments: 75 % before and 25 % after finishing the exchange abroad and completing the required reporting to LAB. From LAB Mobility Online -section you will find more information on the system.
Mobility grant is paid only for physical exchanges in the destination country. In order to have the grant, you must be present in the host country, even if the studies/placement is completed in hybrid model (partly physically, partly remotely). Fully remote studies/placement completed from other destinations than the host country are not supported. Blended mobilities mean that part of the mobility is done remotely from other country than the host country and only the physical part when you are participating the studies/placement from the host country is financed with mobility grant.
LAB financial support amounts and terms for academic year 2021-2022 are informed at the end of this page (LAB Financial support 2021-2022 -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 exchange programs is supported additionally. This special group is considered to include persons whose participation in the program 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. You should find out the need for possible accessibility support with the international services coordinator already at the application stage. You should reserve a lot of time for exchange arrangements when you need special arrangements related to, for example, living, moving or studying at the exchange destination. In such cases, it is a good idea to start the arrangements about 6 months before the start of the exchange in cooperation with the host university / organization. If you need more info, please contact email@example.com.
Erasmus+ additional support for students with underaged children
The Erasmus + program 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 separate grants for the mobility of students with families. LAB pays a special grant to students with families going for an Erasmus exchange; 200 € / month for Erasmus + study exchange and 50 € / month for Erasmus + internship on top of the normal grant.
A prerequisite for the grant is that you have children under 18 years old whose primary guardian you are. Support can also be granted when your children remain in their home country. To receive this grant, you must declare your family status on the application form and submit an extract from the population register verifying the number of children to firstname.lastname@example.org (studies abroad) / email@example.com (placement abroad).
Kela benifits 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 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:
- SYL database
- AURORA database – Funding opportunities for Science and Arts
- Otsakorpi foundation (only for students studying in Lappeenranta)
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 services. You can apply for grants from as many place 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, look for private foundations from your home country.