Thursday May 23, 2024

Kela to monitor students’ academic progress to decide financial aid

Published : 30 Aug 2023, 02:51

  DF Report
File Photo: Xinhua.

The responsibility for monitoring academic progress in secondary education will be transferred to the national social insurance institution-Kela from the educational institutions, said Kela in a press release on Tuesday.

This autumn Kela will start monitoring academic progress as regards secondary-level basic vocational qualifications and general upper secondary education for young students.

Until now, the educational institutions have monitored academic progress. If the educational institution has noticed that a student has not made sufficient academic progress, the educational institution has notified Kela about this. When necessary, Kela has requested further information on the academic progress from the student.

Starting in autumn 2023, the educational institutions will no longer monitor academic progress, which will simplify the exchange of information between the educational institutions and Kela. In previous years the educational institutions have sent by post to Kela notifications of insufficient academic progress regarding about 6,000 students in secondary education. Based on the notifications, Kela has discontinued the student financial aid for about 500 students annually.

Each academic year Kela pays financial aid to about 100,000 students in secondary education.

Kela provides personal support to young people if there is a risk of school dropout

The educational institutions have monitored academic progress over the course of the academic year, but henceforth Kela will monitor academic progress annually in September. In the coming monitoring Kela will look at the academic progress in the previous academic year (1 August 2022-31 July 2023).

Students who have not made enough progress with their studies will receive a request for further information.

Based on the student’s reply, Kela will decide whether the student will continue to be paid financial aid.

If the student does not reply to the request for further information or if the reasons stated for the slow academic progress cannot be accepted, it is possible that the financial aid must be withdrawn.

Acceptable reasons for slower academic progress include for instance the student’s own or a close relative’s illness, other difficult life situation or the completing of an exceptionally extensive study module.

Since Kela can henceforth monitor academic progress electronically, students who have made hardly any academic progress or no academic progress at all and are thus at risk of dropping out of ordinary everyday life can be more efficiently found among the students who have not replied to the request for further information.

“The financial aid for these young persons is not withdrawn automatically. Instead we will, when necessary, contact these young persons individually to check whether we can continue to pay financial aid to them,” said Reeta Paatelma, Legal Counsel of Kela’s Student Financial Aid Section.

“The aim is to discuss with the young person about his or her life situation and about what other types of support the person may need. When needed we can refer the young person for instance to the social and health services or investigate the possibilities of rehabilitation arranged by Kela,” said Paatelma.

The transition period laid down in the Information Management Act that entered into force in 2020 is coming to an end

The change is based on the Information Management Act that entered into force in 2020. Under the Act, public authorities must use existing register data when carrying out their duties, if possible. The 4-year transition period laid down in the Act is coming to an end.

In practice this means that Kela can no longer request certificates or other information from the educational institutions in order to carry out its duties if the information can be obtained electronically from the database Koski maintained by the Finnish National Agency for Education.