Equal access to student health services for higher education students

The Act on Student Health Services for Students in Higher Education came into force on 1 January 2021. The aim of the Act is to secure equal access to student health services and services of equal quality for higher education students in the whole country.

The main changes to the Act are:

  • The responsibility for the arranging of student health services for higher education students is transferred to Kela.
  • Students at universities of applied sciences, who previously have used the student health services of the municipalities, will now use the services of the Finnish Student Health Service (Finnish abbreviation YTHS).
  • The right of international students to use the services of YTHS will change. The services can be used by students who are studying for a degree in a Finnish higher education institution and have registered as attending for the term in question.Exchange students who come to Finland from other countries and are not studying for a degree at a Finnish institution of higher education are not entitled to use the services of YTHS and do not have to pay any healthcare fee.
  • Students in universities of applied sciences and universities who are entitled to use the services of YTHS must pay a healthcare fee to Kela.

Starting from 1 January 2021, the services of YTHS can be used by higher education students who have registered as attending for the term in question and

  • who study at a university of applied sciences and are completing a bachelor’s or master’s level degree or a bachelor’s level degree at the Police University College
  • who study at a university and are completing a bachelor's or a master's degree
  • who study in the Executive Assistance Programme at the National Defence University, i.e. are civilian students at the National Defence University.

Services and contacts to YTHS

Student health services include much more than just health care and medical care. The responsibilities of YTHS also include promoting the health and study capacity of students as well as the wellbeing of the study environment and the student community. This work is done in cooperation with the higher education institutions. The services are outlined in the Act on Student Health Services for Students in Higher Education and in the guide on student health services published by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

The services of YTHS are provided on equal grounds in the whole country. Students thus receive the same level and the same range of services regardless of where in Finland they study. The focus of the service model of YTHS is on teams with responsibility for specific higher education institutions and lines of study who provide services at the local level as well as on nationwide digital e-services and remote services.

During the autumn, the customer service network of YTHS has been adjusted in accordance with the instruction provided in the towns and cities where the students study and the number of students. Starting from the beginning of 2021, YTHS will have a local presence in 45 cities and towns (map of service network enclosed). YTHS has 23 own service units and 95% of all higher education students are covered by these service units.

Students to pay a healthcare fee to Kela

The student healthcare fee in higher education must be paid by all students who are completing a degree at a Finnish institution of higher education and have registered as attending for the term in question. In 2021, the fee will be EUR 35.80 per term. Students are not billed for the fee but are expected to pay it unprompted.

The due date of payment is determined based on the date on which the student has registered as attending. For the spring term, the healthcare fee must be paid by 31 January at the latest, provided the student have registered as attending by then. Instructions for payment of the healthcare fee are available on Kela’s website.

The student healthcare fee in higher education is a tax-like charge and not a payment for a visit to a healthcare provider or for individual service. It is collected to fund student health services generally.

Seventy-seven percent of the funding comes from the State, while the remaining 23% is financed with healthcare fees paid by students.

Additional information and useful links