Costs and finance

International Students in Viikki

The price level of Helsinki is fairly high, but for example, rent rates do not differ from other European metropolitan cities. Make sure you have enough financial means to pay your rent, personal expenses, transportation costs, meals etc. You should make sure that you make arrangements for adequate funding for your entire period of study before leaving your home country. However, as a student, you have access to several student benefits, which can make your life a little easier!

Be 1* of the best scholarships range from full to partial scholarships, and are intended for excellent students from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland who want to complete a Master's programme at the University of Helsinki. Find the Master's programmes through the Degree Finder.

To apply for University of Helsinki scholarships you must first apply for one of University's Master's programmes. You can find more information about the application process on How to Apply. Please remember that the application deadline for both programmes and scholarships is the same.

If you have any questions or require more information about scholarships at University of Helsinki, please send an email to

Read more about the scholarship programme here >>

All students have to pay for their accommodation and living expenses as well as their books and other study materials. The total monthly living expenses of a single student average from 700 to 1000 euros, depending on your spending habits.

The average monthly rent for a single room in a shared student flat ranges from approximately 160€ to 380€ (Finnish Student Housing Ltd., 2017). For example, HOAS’ (The Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region) most affordable room costs 230€ per month. Single apartments or family flats are also available, but the rent rate (ranges from 500 € to 850 € per month) is higher in these non-shared apartments. 

The student status, and especially the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) membership, entitles mainly Bachelor and Master’s students to various services at affordable prices as well as to an abundance of student discounts. The discounts for doctoral students are more limited.

The Student Union membership fee for Bachelor and Master’s students is 100 euros for the 2018-2019 academic year. The right to access the Finnish Student Health Services is included in this fee for Bachelor and Master’s students.

The fee for doctoral students is 45 euros for the 2018-2019 academic year. The fee for doctoral students is smaller because they are not entitled to use the Finnish Student Health Services.

Please note that your tuition fee will cover the Student Union membership fee.

More information on the Student Union membership fee and the benefits and services is available on the Student Union website.

As a member of the Student Union, you will be able to get a Finnish student card which is your means of proving that you're a student in Finland in all situations necessary. You apply for the card on the Frank website; the site guides you through the order process.

You can leave your application as soon as you have been enrolled at the university and you have received your student number. Please note that you have to pay for the student card yourself, the fee for the card is not included in the Student Union membership fee.

Once you have received your Finnish personal identity code, you will be able to download the Frank App and activate a digital student card for free. With the digital student card you are eligible to the same student discounts as with the traditional plastic one.

More information on discounts and benefits available with the student card can be found on the Frank website. For other student discounts, please check directly with the service provider.

Meals, cafe, refreshments and bakery goods at affordable prices are served in the UniCafe restaurants on campus. Student lunch prices and contact information for the cafeterias can be found on the UniCafe website.

The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) provides preventive health care, medical care, mental health care, and oral health care for Bachelor and Master’s students at the university. In order for you to have access to the FSHS services, you must be a member of the Student Union (HYY). For more information on the FSHS services, opening hours and possible fees please see the FSHS website.

On the FSHS website there is a lot of useful information on different health topics, e.g. nutrition and exercise, insomnia and seasonal affective disorder (winter depression).

Bachelor and Master’s students are entitled to discounts in local transportation as well as on railways and long distance coaches.

Local transportation in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area

Bachelor and Master’s students, as well as exchange students, under the age of 30 and living in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen, Kerava, Kirkkonummi or Sipoo, are usually entitled to a student discount on their travel card. Students aged 30 or over must receive Student Financial Aid from the Finnish Social Security Institution (Kela) in order for them to be granted the student discount.

Degree students have to register as permanent residents of the municipality at the Register Office before the student discount can be granted. Before buying the travel card you need to obtain a certificate proving your degree student status, which is available at the Student Services and at the Welcome Fair.

Exchange students need to obtain a certificate proving the exchange student status before buying the travel card. This certificate is available at the Student Services and at the Welcome Fair as well.

More information on the Travel card and ticket prices can be found on the Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) website.

Railways and long-distance coaches

The Finnish Railway (VR) and the operator of long distance coaches (Matkahuolto, on trips over 80 kilometres) give Bachelor and Master’s level students a discount on ticket prices.

In order for you to receive the student discount you need to show your student card. The discount is 50 % at Matkahuolto and 30 % at VR. The discount at VR depends on the type of ticket and the time of purchase.

For more information on timetables and ticket prices, please visit the VR and Matkahuolto websites.

Degree students must arrange funding themselves. Look for the possibilities at home. Is there a student financial aid system in your country? What about grants and scholarships for studying abroad? Keep in mind that you can also work during studies. Find more information on the section “Working”.

Exchange students (i.e. students who register for a limited period of studies through an exchange programme) can ask their home university about scholarships for outgoing students. Home universities inform students about funding opportunities for their own outgoing exchange students. Erasmus and Nordplus grants are always awarded to students in their home country. Please contact the International Affairs or equivalent at your home institution or your own department for more information on grants and other benefits they may be offering.

Visiting students, who come to study at the University outside the exchange programmes or without any institutional or departmental agreements between their home institution and the University of Helsinki, have to finance their studies themselves.

University of Helsinki Funds: Students already studying at the University of Helsinki can apply for e.g. the scholarships offered by the University of Helsinki Funds. More information is available in the Apply for a grant section.

CIMO scholarships: The Finnish National Agency for Education offers a number of scholarship programmes for doctorate studies and research. Read more on the website.

Other grants and scholarships: Most grant and scholarship programmes, offered by various foundations and scientific or other organisations in Finland are also open to international students and researchers enrolled at the University of Helsinki.

The University Helsinki offers its degree students two academic funding databases to facilitate the search for grants and scholarships suiting their lines of study or research themes. You can access the funding databases through the University of Helsinki intranet Flamma, which you can log in to after receiving the username for the university's computer network.

In some cases, international degree students may obtain a student grant by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). You may receive student financial aid for your studies only if your residence in Finland can be considered permanent and your residence is based on some other status than that of a student or if you fulfil the requirements of an EU-employee personally or are a family member of another person with an EU-employee status. Immigrants returning to Finland and refugees have been exempted from this regulation.

Read more about the student financial aid on the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA) website.

Students, who have come to Finland only for studies, are usually considered to be here only temporarily and are thus generally not covered by the Finnish social security. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

More detailed information regarding the social security system is available on Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA) website.

For more information you can also visit the In To Finland service point in Kamppi. The service point is operated jointly by KELA and the Finnish Tax Administration. For contact information and opening hours please see the In To service point’s website.

International exchange and degree students are allowed to work during their stay in Finland - with certain restrictions. The restrictions have to do with the nationality (EU/EEA or non-EU/EEA) and the nature of employment.

As an EU/EEA citizen, you have the right to work in Finland without any work permit or restrictions on hours.

Students coming from outside of the EU/EEA countries and with a student residence permit are allowed to work part-time, if the working time comes to an average of 25 hours per week at most. There are no limitations on working hours in full-time employment during holidays, specifically the summer and Christmas holidays.

In addition, the regulations for study-related work, compulsory training or employment having to do with thesis work tend to be more relaxed. For doctoral research work, the regulations are vaguer and must be checked from the local employment office.

For the regulations of study and work, see MIGRI’s website.

Read more on the Working while studying website >>