Tuition fees: 5 essential basics you need to know

One of the most popular reasons that students from around the world choose to study in the Netherlands is because of the relatively low tuition fees. Of course, ‘low’ means in comparison to other countries with courses in English. In comparison to places like the US or the UK, Dutch tuition is pretty reasonable. In England, you might expect to pay a tuition fee of £9,250 a year, whereas in the Netherlands you would pay €2,006 (or around £1739, as we are writing this). That’s a 5th of the price for an amazing education! If that doesn’t impress you, we don’t know what will. But we aren’t here just to discuss comparisons…welcome to Tuition Fees 101, a class where you’ll learn all you need to know about studying in the Netherlands!

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1. Statutory vs. institutional fees

Dutch university fees can be split into two categories: statutory and institutional fees. But what exactly does that mean? If you are a Dutch or EU/EEA national, you normally pay the statutory fee. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you already have an HBO or university bachelor/master’s degree from a Dutch university, you might need to pay the institutional fee. The same goes for if you are registering for two degrees at the same time. But, that being said, this varies from programme to programme and university to university.

The institutional fee, on the other hand, is normally paid by international students from outside the EU/EEA. The difference between the statutory and institutional fee is that the institutional fee is higher. More on that below!

2. Get your passport out!

Like in most countries, the amount of tuition fees you pay depends on your nationality. In this case, there’s a difference if you are from the EU/EEA or not. In 2017/18 the tuition fees for a student studying a bachelor degree with an EU/EEA nationality is around €2,006 per academic year in most academic institutions. Whereas if you are otherwise international, i.e. not from the EU/EEA, the tuition fees are around or over €8,000. This amount might change a bit every year, but should be around that same ballpark. This difference exists because EU fees are subsidized by the government, whereas fees for non-EU students aren’t. Private universities and university colleges might have higher tuition fees, but this is the general rule of thumb for bachelor degrees at most Dutch universities. For master or PhD degrees, tuition fees are higher, as well as for degrees within medicine.

3. Pay in two ways

In Holland, you can pay in one of two ways. Nice, right? In most universities, you have the choice to pay the full tuition fee upfront in one go, or in instalments. This might soothe your soul if you are worried about having the complete fee at the start of the year or can’t pay upfront. This also means you can apply for student financing at the start of the term! Usually, this is all done through direct debit, though you might be offered other choices depending on your personal situation or the amount of tuition you pay.

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4. Student financing for tuition fees

Did someone mention student finance? Yes, as a student in the Netherlands you can apply for student financing to help cover your tuition fees! If you are an EU/EEA student and pay the statutory fee, you can receive student financing to cover your tuition costs. Same goes for international students from outside the EU paying institutional fees. To receive student financing, you have to meet certain criteria and fit the requirements. You might also be able to apply for the supplementary grant, which depends on your parents income. And, as icing on top of the cake, each student that receives student finance can also get the student travel product. What that translates to is free public transport throughout Holland! Student finance definitely has it’s benefits…

5. But where’s your money going?

After all this talk about Dutch tuition fees, you might be wondering, ‘where does all my money go’? When you step off the plane for the first time and make your way to your new home, you won’t have to look far to find the answer. Dutch universities have been praised for their modern and innovative educational approach, as well as their up-to-date facilities. This means that tech, teaching materials, and even buildings are shiny and new, just for you (so good that it even decided to rhyme). Dutch universities also place heavy interest in group work; you’ll notice a lot of rooms for individual or group study!


Your lesson on tuition fees has now come to an end, but don’t forget to review your notes! With these 5 nuggets of wisdom, you are sure to become a tuition fee expert in no time. Now get to studying…

Do you have any more essential knowledge about tuition fees? Let us know in the comments!