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Kela to recover 45m from thousands of students for financial aid overpayments

Tax data revealed that some 34,800 students had incomes that exceeded the annual limit for receiving financial aid.

Viidenkymmenen euron seteleitä.
Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Finland’s benefits administrator is calling on nearly 35,000 students to repay a total of 45 million euros in excess financial aid paid out.

In 2016, the Finnish Social Insurance Institute Kela paid out financial aid to 320,500 students in 2016. Now the agency says that tax data from the Finnish Tax Administration Vero, shows that some 34,800 of those students had incomes that exceeded the annual income limit allowed for receiving the benefit.

As such, Kela wants them to repay the portion of financial aid to which they were not entitled because of their extra income. The agency said Tuesday that the total amount to be recovered from the nearly 35,000 students is 45 million euros, amounting to roughly 1,300 euros each.

The annual income limit for receiving student financial aid varies depending on the period (number of months) for which a student receives the aid. For example, a student who draws down financial aid for nine months is entitled to additional income of up to 11,850 a year.

The income limit was increased by one percentage point at the beginning of the year, putting the new annual limit for a student receiving nine months of financial aid at 11,973 euros.

The average taxable income of students before financial aid in 2016 was 7,970 euros. Kela noted that students are personally responsible for ensuring that their income does not exceed the predetermined limit.

Students who wish to contest the repayment claim have until 22 March to file a request for a review.

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