Whether you’ve lived in Maastricht for a while or just landed in this new city, finances can be quite the stress factor. We’ve all been there – juggling rent, groceries, and many other expenses on your own can feel like a never-ending burden. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed, but even in this chaos of costs, there’s a lifeline: student finance. We’re here to tell you all about Dutch governmental aid, known as Studiefinanciering – how to see if you’re eligible, what the possibilities are and where to start with applications.
The student finance program is provided by DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs), and it now extends financial aid to both Dutch and international students pursuing higher education in the Netherlands. So, how do you know if you’re eligible?
Let’s break down the requirements:
- You have to be enrolled in either an MBO (school-based learning pathway or BOL) or an HBO/ University (bachelor, master or associate degree). Your chosen course must be full-time or occuring dually with another course, lasting at least a year, and officially recognised in the Netherlands.
- There’s no minimum age for HBO (higher professional education) and university, but for MBO (secondary vocational education), you need to be at least 18. However, if you’re under 18, you can still obtain a student travel product. Moreover, you must be under 30 when your student finance starts.
- Nationality is also an important factor – if you are an international from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, additional conditions also factor in. You need to fulfil one of the following conditions:
- Residence permit: You have a residence permit type II, III, IV or V. If you have the type I permit, you need to use the eligibility assistant on the DUO website to find out if you qualify for student finance.
- Work: You need to work at least 32 hours per month typically, but if you work between 24 and 32 hours per month, other requirements kick in, such as 6 months of work or a permanent contract. People who work under 24 hours per month hardly ever get the financing. However, you can also get the financing if you have a monthly income of at least 50% of the social security norm (€158.47 if you’re under 21 and €641.92 otherwise). If your parent or partner is also from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and fits this same criteria, you may also be eligible for student finance support.
- Duration of residency: You have been living in the Netherlands for 5 consecutive years or more.
This might be a bit intricate, so don’t hesitate to check the DUO website yourself, call them for additional information or DM us on Instagram – we’ll do our best to help!
Now that you have an idea whether you’re a fit candidate for student financing let’s look a bit more in-depth into what types are available for you:
- The basic grant is available for all those who fit the eligibility requirements, but the amount of money you will receive varies based on your living situation. Students who live at home can get €121.33/ month, while those living away from home can get €466.69/ month.
- The supplementary grant is only offered to students whose parents make a certain amount of money (whether you have siblings or your parents are paying off student debt from DUO themselves is also a factor which is taken into consideration). This is calculated based on your parents’ income from 2 years ago, and in 2024, if your parents jointly earned less than € 36,592,92 per year, you will receive the maximum supplementary grant of €457.60.
- The student travel product allows you to travel for free on either weekdays or weekends, but not both. However, whichever of the two you choose, you will get a discount on the other days (on weekends for a weekday subscription and vice versa). During certain hours on certain days, especially public holidays, you will also only get a reduced rate and not a totally free fare, but saving money to get around the city efficiently is great either way! This applies to all sorts of public transportation means across the Netherlands, such as buses, trains,subways, etc., and requires a personal OV Chipkaart, which you can very quickly and easily link to your student travel discount on any top-up machine.
The three above-mentioned financing means will become a gift if you graduate from your studies within 10 years – a great deal!
However, there is also the option of loans, which need to be repaid.
- The regular loan assists with basic living expenses. These loans accumulate interest from the month you receive them, and this interest can change annually. The maximum amount of money you can borrow varies slightly depending on the type of higher education you are undertaking, ranging from €200 to €300. You can, of course, borrow smaller amounts, depending on your needs.
- The tuition fee loan, obviously used to cover tuition fees, varies based on statutory or institutional fee obligations.
You have 15 or 35 years to repay your loan after completing your studies, depending on the repayment rules that apply to you, all of which can be found here.
Also keep in mind that when you plan to buy a house in the Netherlands, your student debt will be considered when calculating your mortgage.
In order to apply for either or all of the above, you won’t need much. Firstly, a DigiD is required, which you will use in order to log in to the DUO platform online. Then, you have to fill out their application form and submit a bunch of documents specific to the type of financing you’re applying for. Typically, this includes your ID, a (fixed-hour) work contract/ payslip if you need to check the migrant worker nationality criteria, official invoices of your parent’s income for the supplementary grant (you can find the specific name of the document they accept on the DUO website if your parents work in countries outside of the Netherlands); potentially, other documents will be required, all of which can be found on the DUO website. If you forgot to submit something and have already sent the documents on the platform, you can’t send more, so make sure to go through the requirements step-by-step carefully – however, if something like that happens, it’s most definitely not the end of the world, you can always call them and a solution will be found!
If you don’t meet the initial requirements, don’t panic! Alternative financial support avenues might be available to you. Explore options like tuition fee assistance or lifelong learning credit. Additionally, consider grants or subsidies for specialised courses such as teacher training.
We hope this made student financial support in the Netherlands a bit easier to navigate!
Here are some additional links that might help you out:
Good luck with your application processes, and don’t forget – we’re here in case anything goes wrong!