3 saving graces for low-income students

You know Elle Woods, the rich darling of Harvard Law School in the movie 'Legally Blonde'? Even if you don't, let's set the scene: coming from a rich family, Elle wasn't exactly short of money. The point we are getting to is that there are not many Elle Woods in college... So, for low-income students, there must be some sort of scheme in place to offer help? Of course there is, especially when it comes to taking some of the load off your financial burdens. You can choose from applying for student finance, for allowances, or maybe even a scholarship. Let's dive into those in more detail, shall we? Here are 4 saving graces for low-income students.

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Student finance for low-income students

Student finance is designed to help students with the payment of their tuition fees. DUO, or the Dutch Ministry of Education, is responsible for providing student finance, or studiefinanciering in Dutch. There are three parts to Dutch student finance, but be aware that you might not qualify for all of them!

There are also specific requirements you need to meet in order to apply for student finance. You must either be an EU national or have the same rights as a Dutch national. This depends on the sort of resident permit or nationality you have. You also have to be registered for a full-time degree or programme at a higher education institution. There are a bunch of other requirements that you can read about here.

The tuition fee loan

Depending on which fee you pay (statutory or institutional, see here for more clarification), there is a maximum of student finance that you can receive each month in contribution to your tuition fees. You must pay back this loan after your studies!

The supplementary loan

Being able to receive this loan depends on the income of your parents. Their income must be lower than €50.000 per year. This loan is a gift, meaning you don't need to pay it back. Last year, the maximum was €386.08 per month. You can use DUO's calculator to see if you fall within the range of the supplementary grant.

The travel product

Lastly, there is the student travel product. You can basically travel with a discount or free with Dutch public transport. Choose to travel for free on the weekdays or the weekends, and if you graduate within 10 years you don't need to pay it back! Just remember to cancel it once your student finance has ended...

If you want to learn more about the 3 components, read our Studiefinanciering page. Want to find out it you meet the criteria? Read about the Requirements here. Finally, if you want to apply, simply go to our Student Finance Application page.Image of a student


An alternative to student finance is a scholarship. There are many scholarships both for EU and non-EU students. For example, the NN Future Matters scholarship is for EU students (and more) who wish to study a Master's degree in the Netherlands. Or, something like Erasmus + if you are thinking of taking a semester abroad.

There are also extensive options for non-EU students. For example, there is the Holland Scholarship. This is a scholarship for non-EEA students wanting to study a full-time Bachelor or Master's degree in the Netherlands. Or, the Sino-Dutch Scholarship, which is targeted to excellent Chinese students who want to do a research year in the Netherlands.

Each scholarship has its own set of requirements, and you can also see which Dutch universities participate in their programmes. Just have a look at our Scholarship page to find out more!Image of healthy food

Health insurance allowance

Though healthcare is essential, we all know paying for it is not exactly cheap. Even if you get basic coverage through College Life for example, which you need if you are going to be working during your studies, the bills can still amount to a lot each month. Luckily, if you fall under the allowance threshold, you could be eligible to apply for healthcare allowance. How it works is that the government provides low-income students with a monthly sum towards their monthly health insurance payments. How much you get depends on your personal level of income. Use College Life's calculator to figure out how much you might be able to get.

You can qualify for healthcare allowance if you pay for any sort of basic Dutch public health insurance. You also have to study in the Netherlands either as 30 years or younger. Or, you must study in the Netherlands with an internship (or similar job situation) with a monthly income. Also, you have to know whether you have a toeslagpartner or not. It's an allowance partner of sorts. Confused about what that is? Read this post, it will clarify everything. You can also read more about health insurance allowance in more detail here.

Housing allowance

Much like healthcare allowance, housing allowance is a monthly contribution to your monthly rent payment. It functions in a similar manner as healthcare allowance. However, there are a few more requirements. You have to meet the general qualifications, like being above 18 years old and have a BSN number. Your income must also be below the threshold. And, your rental payments need to be of a certain amount. Additionally, you have to live in an independent property. That means you have to have your own front door... so an apartment or house, for instance. Make sure to use College Life's calculator to see how much housing allowance you could receive.

Applying for housing allowance also requires you to know whether you have a toeslagpartner or not. You can read more about housing allowance, as well as how to apply, on the Housing Allowance page. Image of housing allowance for low-income studentsIn conclusion, there are a few schemes in place to help low-income students with their financial costs. You could apply for student finance, get a scholarship, and even apply for benefits for your insurance or rent. College Life also wants to help you get your financials in order. That's why we have extensive pages dedicated to financing your studies, as well as a whole Finance category in the Magazine! Have a look.

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