If you are studying in the Netherlands you have probably heard of student finance. If you have met the requirements for student finance, you also know that if you have received the loan, you have to go about repaying your student finance some point! Whether you are coming to the end of your studies or have just applied and want to prepare yourself, this is a must-read for you.
Repaying your student finance may sound a little bit scary but don’t worry! Firstly, it’s quite a simple process. Secondly, it’s also a pretty agreeable process (it's easy as pie).
Remind us of what student finance is, will you?
First things first: let's remember what student finance actually consists of:
- A loan
- Student travel product
- Supplementary grant depending on parental income
If you are completing a 4-year degree program at either an HBO or university you can receive 7 years of student finance. However, the supplementary grant is only available for the first 4 years.
Because some degrees take longer to finish than in 4 years, you can receive student finance for longer. Nevertheless, you must use up your student finance within 10 years! Get on it, then!
You need to pay back your loan no matter what!
The repayment period starts on the 1st of January after your right to a student grant has expired. Your repayment is split into two phases:
- In the first two years after your right to your student grant has ended, you don’t have to repay your student finance (but you can if you want to).
- In the second phase, after the two years, you must start paying back your loan. This repayment phase can last up to 15 years or 35 years if the new student finance system applies to you. You are charged interest during both of these two phases, though it changes every calendar year (in 2019, it is 0.00%!).
What's the process of repaying your student finance?
You pay in monthly installments calculated for you by DUO. This means that it should be entirely possible for you to pay back this loan within the 15 years. If this monthly installment is too high, you can have it reduced by sending in a request. You can also ask DUO to stop collecting your debt for a temporary time of maximum 5 years.
The mandatory payment method is by direct debit.
Student travel and the supplementary grant can be gifted to you
You can receive and use the student travel product for 5 years. 5 years of free travel, man! You can find out more about the student travel product on our page about studiefinanciering and its contents.
Moreover, if you graduate within 10 years, you are gifted both the student travel product and supplementary grant (if you qualified for one). How much you are gifted relies upon the level of your diploma or certificate you receive. Sweet, right?
But, be careful! You have to cancel your student travel product yourself because it will not get canceled for you when your student finance ends. Make your way over to an OV pick-up device to cancel your product on or before the 5th working day of the first month for which you are no longer eligible to use it. If you forget to or end it too late, you will be fined 97 euros per half calendar month...
However, if you don’t graduate within 10 years, you must pay these back as well.
Have any of you started paying back your student finance? Let us know about your experience!