Compulsory education continues beyond comprehensive school

Every ninth-grader graduating from comprehensive school has to enrol in upper secondary education. The goal is to give young people a chance to have a bright future by providing them with the education and skills they need in their future lives.
Photo: Jefunne Gimpel

At the end of your basic education, you have to apply for further studies during the joint application period in the spring or through rolling admissions. Your options are general upper secondary school, vocational education and training, preparatory education towards a qualification, or other training covered by compulsory education.

Your obligation to apply for further studies continues until your study place is confirmed and you start your studies. Your obligation to study in compulsory education ends when you turn 18 or earlier if you complete an upper secondary qualification before turning 18.

Extended compulsory education applies to you if you have participated in basic education in or after 2021.

What does free general upper secondary education mean? 

In Finland, general upper secondary education is free of charge for students in compulsory education. This means that you will receive the textbooks and materials required for your studies free of charge. For example, you will receive a laptop for the duration of your studies. You do not have to pay a fee for the first five subjects in which you take a matriculation examination test. Additionally, transport to and from school is free of charge for you if the distance between your home and general upper secondary school is more than seven kilometres. General upper secondary education will remain free of charge for you until the end of the calendar year you turn 20. 

General upper secondary education is free of charge for all students, and the schools provide their students with one warm meal free of charge every day.