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Kela claws back €43m from students who earned too much

Kela says it is every student's responsibility to ensure that his or her income does not exceed the annual limit.

The Social Insurance Institution (Kela) is sending out bills to students it believes overstepped an income limit. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Social insurance agency Kela is reclaiming study grants issued to nearly 40,000 students, whom it says exceeded the annual income limit in 2017.

The students have been sent decisions calling on them to repay financial aid they received due to ineligibility. The average sum demanded is just over 1,000 euros.

Recipients may apply to Kela to request reconsideration of the decree, accompanied by details of their studies and income. Requests must be filed within a month of receiving the injunction.

Voluntary reimbursements of excess payments of 2018 student aid must be made by the end of May. After that Kela will reclaim any overpaid sums, along with a 7.5-percent fee.

One in 10 students earned too much

Kela points out that it every students’ individual responsibility to ensure that their annual income does not exceed the set limit.

The maximum annual level depends on how many months during the year the student has received financial aid.

For instance, a student who received grants for nine months in 2017 was allowed to earn up to 11,850 euros during the year from other sources.

The number of people now being sent repayment invoices is significantly higher than a year ago. At that point reclamation letters were mailed out to 34,800 students, seeking to claw back a total of 45.4 million euros.

This time the overall sum due is lower, though, at 43.3 million. The amount shrank because beginning in autumn 2017, most students began to receive general housing allowances instead of housing supplement payments as part of their student financial aid.

In 2017 some 312,000 students received study grants.