Changes to the School Transport Support Act will enter into force on August 1, 2023, as a result of which there will be changes to the application process. Until now, students have submitted their applications to their high schools. After this, the schools have checked the applications, issued coupons and recorded the information about the right to purchase tickets. In the future, school transport support will be applied for directly to Kela. The educational institutions only give general advice on grant-related matters.
“Thanks to the new application procedure, students can apply for all study benefits online,” says Maid KuusistoBenefits manager of Kela’s study support department.
The easiest way to apply for school transport support is to use Kela’s new online application, which will be available from the end of May or the beginning of June. The printed coupons previously issued for the purchase of tickets are no longer used. The gift cards are replaced by an electronic certificate of the right to buy a ticket, which can be granted immediately when the student submits the application. This means that students can buy tickets from the online services of transport service providers immediately after submitting the application.
“This makes the students’ activities much easier and faster, because they can buy subsidized tickets before the actual decision on the subsidy,” says Kuusisto.
You can still apply for school transport support with a printed form. However, customers who have done so will not be entitled to buy tickets until Kela has processed their application.
Students need online banking credentials or a mobile certificate
Students can apply for school travel support themselves in OmaKela if they have online banking credentials or a mobile certificate. Online banking credentials can be obtained from the bank where the student is a customer, and a mobile certificate from the student’s mobile phone operator.
“It’s important to get the online banking credentials or mobile certificate in time enough so that you can submit your application online before the start of the new school year,” says Kuusisto.
The amount of support and the criteria for granting it remain unchanged
The School Transportation Support Act was last amended in 2021, when compulsory schooling was extended to 18 years of age and upper secondary education was made free of charge. At that time, the amount of support and the criteria for granting it were also changed. They remain unchanged according to the latest change.
Kela grants school travel support to high school students who live far from their school. More information about school transport support can be found at Kela’s website.
The number of school transport subsidy recipients has increased since 2021 as a result of changes in the law. In the academic year 2021–2022, school transport support was granted to 25,600 students for free education. A total of 57,400 students received school travel support during the academic year, which is 36 percent more than the previous year.
Source: The Nordic Page