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Low-Income Students: 4 Saving Graces

by College Life
Updated on October 29, 2023

Do you know Elle Woods, the rich darling of Harvard Law School in the movie 'Legally Blonde'?  If you don't, she comes from a rich family and isn't exactly short of money. The point is that there are not many Elle Woods in college... For low-income students, there must be some sort of help available, right? 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, allowances, or maybe even a scholarship. Here are 4 saving graces for low-income students - follow these, and you won't go broke.

1. Paid Online Surveys for Low-Income Students

Got some spare moments? Dive into paid online surveys and get perks for your time! Plus, it's a way to shape the future by guiding brands towards smarter decisions. Undertake these surveys wherever you fancy - be it your room or on-the-go - and collect money or vouchers. These can be a lifesaver when you need to stock up for your uni days. Want to give it a shot? Choose your country and explore with our survey partner, Toluna:

Is your country not in the list? No worries - explore the entire list of available countries.

2. 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 four 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 residence permit or citizenship you have. You also have to be registered for a full-time degree or program at a higher education institution. There are a bunch of other requirements that you can read about here.

Tuition Fee Loan

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

Regular Loan

If you meet the nationality requirements, and work 56 hours per month for an employer based in The Netherlands, you might be eligible for the regular loan. The maximum amount you can borrow depends on whether you live with your parents or not, so make sure to review the most up-to-date information published on DUO. In the meantime, you can apply for student jobs that allow you to get the required 56 hours per month, such as being a courier at Just Eat Takeaway.

Supplementary Loan

Your eligibility for 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.

Travel Product

travel products

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...

Want to find out if you meet the criteria? Read about the requirements.

3. Scholarships for Low-Income Students

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 for 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 for a full-time Bachelor or Master's degree in the Netherlands. Or, the Sino-Dutch Scholarship, which is targeted at 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 Student Finance guide for more information in scholarships!

4. Allowances for Low-Income Students

Health Insurance Allowance

Though healthcare is essential, we all know paying for it is not exactly cheap. Even if you get basic coverage, for example, which you need if you are going to be working during your studies, the bills can still pile up each month. Luckily, if you fall under the allowance threshold, you are eligible to apply for healthcare allowance. The government provides low-income students with a monthly sum to help with their monthly health insurance payments. How much you get depends on your personal level of income.

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 and be 30 years old or younger. Or, you must study in the Netherlands and have an internship (or similar job situation) with a monthly income. Also, you have to know whether you have a toeslagpartner or not. Confused about what that is? It's an allowance partner of sorts. Read this post to understand more. 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 rent. It functions in a similar manner as healthcare allowance. However, there are a few more requirements. You have to meet general qualifications, like being older than 18 and have a BSN number. Your income must also be below a given 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.

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. 

In conclusion, there are a few structures in place to help low-income students with their financial burdens. 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 finances in order. That's why we have a Student Finance guide for you to read!

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