Monday February 26, 2024

Not school, Kela to handle school transport subsidy application

Published : 27 Apr 2023, 01:03

Updated : 27 Apr 2023, 01:06

  DF Report
DF File Photo.

The national social insurance institution-Kela will directly handle the application for school transport subsidy instead of the schools from next month, said Kela in a press release on Wednesday.

Till now, students have been submitting their applications to their upper secondary schools. The schools have then checked the applications, issued vouchers and recorded information on the right to purchase tickets.

But Kela brought change to the application handling process following the amendments to the Act on School Transport Subsidy, which will enter into force on August 1.

From now on, applications for school transport subsidy will be submitted directly to Kela and educational institutions will only provide general advice on matters related to the subsidy.

A handy, new online application for school transport subsidy will be introduced in OmaKela.

Students will need online banking codes or a mobile certificate in order to submit their applications for the school transport subsidy in the e-service.

Online applications for school transport subsidy will be introduced in late May or early June.

“Thanks to the new application procedure, students will be able to apply for all study benefits online,” said Piia Kuusisto, Benefits Manager for the Student Financial Aid Section of Kela.

The easiest way to apply for school transport subsidy will be to use Kela’s new online application, which will be available from late May or early June.

The printed vouchers formerly issued for the purchase of tickets will no longer be used.

The vouchers will be replaced by an electronic proof of the right to purchase tickets, which can be granted immediately when the student has submitted an application. This means that students will be able to purchase tickets in the online services of the transport providers immediately after submitting their applications.

“This makes things much easier and faster for the students, as they will be able to buy subsidised tickets before receiving an actual decision on the subsidy,” Kuusisto said.

It will still be possible to submit applications for school transport subsidy on a printed form.

However, students will not receive the right to purchase tickets until Kela has processed their application.

“It’s important to get your online banking codes or mobile certificate early enough so that you can submit your application online before the start of the new academic year,” Kuusisto said.

The amount of the subsidy and the grounds for granting will remain unchanged

The Act on School Transport Subsidy was last amended in 2021, when compulsory education was extended to the age of 18 and upper secondary education was made free of charge.

At that time, the amount of the subsidy and the criteria for granting it were also amended. They will remain unchanged under the latest amendment.

Kela grants school transport subsidy to students in upper secondary education who live a long distance from their school.

In the academic year 2021–2022, school transport subsidy was granted to 25,600 students for education that was free of charge.

A total of 57,400 students received school transport subsidy during the academic year, an increase of 36 per cent on the previous year.