Dutch student finance might seem a little bit scary at first. In your head it might be a little bit like, say, the monster under your bed; you try to ignore it, but when evening draws closer, you get more anxious. Wait, let us explain what we mean: student finance might seem a big complicated, and you might be putting off applying because of this. But that's all wrong, and we are here to tell you so! Dutch student finance is actually really, really easy to understand. The requirements are clear, and the application process is simple. Here, we have outlined the 5 most important things about Dutch student finance you need to know. If you don't read anything else today, at least read this!
1. Dutch student finance is made up of 3 things
Student finance in the Netherlands is made up of 3 things: a loan, a supplementary grant, and a student travel product. But, hold up; you might not be able to get all of the above. The supplementary loan depends on your parent's income. You have to pay back the loan (yeah, it sucks, we know), but the travel product is free. Sweet 'but', right? Even better, if you do qualify for the supplementary loan, you don't have to pay that back either; it becomes a 'gift'.
The gist is that what student finance you are able to score depends on what requirements you meet. To even apply for any of these 3 components, you must be a Dutch, EU/EEA or Swiss national. You must also be registered in a full-time or dual degree program in a Dutch higher educational institution. And last but not least, you must be under 30 when you apply. A bit of a mouthful, right? But, very simple.
There are more requirements that apply to Dutch student finance, like specific ones for the supplementary loan and tuition fee loan. Why not head on over to our pages about Dutch student financing (in Dutch, studiefinanciering)?
2. Tuition fee loans depend on your nationality
The loan that we just mentioned has its own set of rules. There is a basic 'loan', as well as a 'tuition fee loan'. In both cases, you must pay back the loan. Here's the catch: there are also two types of tuition fees. There is the statutory fee and the institutional fee. Depending on your nationality, you have to pay either the statutory or institutional fee. As an EU/EEA student, you usually pay the statutory fee. But, if you already have a degree from a HBO or university in the Netherlands you might have to pay the institutional fee. This also goes for if you are planning on registering for and studying two programmes or degrees (like a dual degree, for example). Now on the other hand, if you are an international student (so, not a resident of the EU/EEA) you must pay the institutional fee. You can usually find the amounts and difference if you search for tuition fee information on your university website.
For the statutory free, the maximum loan for tuition fees is €165.33. In the case of the institutional fee, the maximum loan for tuition fees can be as high as €862.67 per month!
You can check this post out if you want to learn more about tuition fees!
Got that? Great, let's see what number 3 is!
3. You might have to work if you want the supplementary grant
The supplementary grant is calculated based on your parents income. In combination, your parents income shouldn't be over €50.000 a year. So, not everyone is eligible for it. Which is a shame, but such is life, is it not? As to not get too philosophical on you, we'll explain the requirements for this...
There are two cases in which you can receive the supplementary grant (and loan). In the first case, you must be an EU/EEA resident and have lived in the Netherlands for the last 5 years (at minimum). If this is a strong 'yes that's me, pick me', you are automatically eligible for the supplementary grant and loan!
In the second scenario, you have to be employed to receive the supplementary loan. If you haven't lived the last 5 years in the Netherlands, you have to work at least 56 hours a month (that's around 14 hours a week). This has to be with a Dutch employer. Visit our Job Board to find the right job that meets there requirements.
4. Student finance can last you up to 10 years
Yes, some good news! If you are planning to study a 4-year degree programme (or less) at an HBO or university, you can get 7 years of Dutch student finance! Awesome, right? If you get the supplementary grant, you can use that in the first 4 years of your studies only. In addition, you can use your student travel product for 5 years. That translates to free public transport to and from the club for the next 5 years! Or, you know, just use your bike...
All in all, you must use up your student financing within 10 years!
5. Paying it back is easy as pie
Easy as shooting fish in a barrel, as stealing candy from a baby. Wait, who even came up with that one? Basically, paying back your student finance loan is extremely easy. So easy, you might think it's a trap (it's not).
In the first two years after your student finance has ended (and you have graduated, fingers crossed), you don't have to start paying back your loan. Sweet! Of course, you can if you want to. After these two years, in the so-called second phase, you have to start paying back your loan. This phase can last anywhere between 15 and 36 years, if the new system applies to you. You have to pay in monthly instalments using direct debit. DUO calculates this monthly amount for you, but if it's too high you can always ask for it to change.
See, that wasn't so bad was it? Dutch student finance is very clear and straightforward; there are 3 components, there are a few requirements, and eventually you need to pay back your loan. If you want to read more about student financing in the Netherlands, head over to our pages about Finances.
Do you have any essential nuggets of advice when it comes to student financing? Let us know in the comments down below!