Tuition Fees: 6 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’ is in comparison to other countries with courses in English. Compared 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 €2,087 (or around £1,854, as we are writing this). If that doesn’t impress you, we don’t know what will. 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 within different programs and universities.

As if that wasn't enough, those eligible for the statutory fee have a reduced tuition fee for the first year of their bachelor's degree. That means that you'll only be paying €1,043 instead of €2,087!

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. Making your first tuition payment

One of the most important topics with regards to tuition is figuring out how you will transfer the initial amount. The total first amount you will transfer will depend on the interval you opt-in for (e.g. monthly, bi-monthly or a yearly instalment). Now, no matter the amount, it's important to keep in mind that traditional banks will take 3-5 days to transfer your amount and can charge substantial transaction & currency conversion fees (even some that might be hidden). When using Transferwise, you won't drop a sweat when sending your first tuition payment. Not only will your transfer be completed within 1-3 days, you will also be charged only a small fee and have a complete overview of all costs upfront.

3. 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 2019/20 the tuition fees for a student studying a bachelor degree with an EU/EEA nationality will be around €2,087 per academic year in most academic institutions. Whereas if you are an 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 price. 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. For master or Ph.D. degrees, tuition fees are higher, as well as for degrees within medicine.

4. 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 installments. 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.

Image of student and tuition fees

5. 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 its benefits…

6. 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. 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!

Showing 9 comments
  • Michael

    Hi ! I have a bachelor degree not granted from a dutch university, however, I am an EU national. Which tuition fees( Statutory vs. institutional fees) would apply for a second bachelor degree ?
    Thank you

    • Kristian

      Hi Michael,

      Great question. If you would like to start a second bachelor’s or master’s programme after completing your first degree at a Dutch higher education institution, you will be required to pay the higher, institutional tuition fee. The exact amount of this fee depends on the university you decide to study at & the programme that you’ll be enrolling in.

      Hope this helps,

  • Jessica Grace Mulyadi

    Hi what are the fees for IMFA ? I’m still confused is the institution tuition fees payed monthly, per semester or per year ??

    • Kristian

      Hi Jessica,

      Thank you for your question. What do you mean by IMFA?

  • Ben

    Is this some sort of joke?

    The Institutional fees is already 4 or more times more than the statuary fees and you’re halving the statuary fees only!! This doesn’t make sense at all, they should reduce both the statuary and the instituational fees (Honestly, the statuary fees shouldn’t even be halved since it’s already so low).

    This is absolutely pathetic!

  • Andrada

    Hi! After I apply for the student finance (only for the tuition fee) I won’t get all the money in one transfer, so that means that I have to arrange with the university and pay them in instalments? And pay them as I receive the money from the government? I am asking this because I haven’t seen this kind of explanation anywhere. I was troubled since my first year was only 1048 euros and by the august of 2020 when I will need to pay the university that is the money that I will have. So, this means I will only have half of the money that I will need to pay since the second year is at least double as the first one.

    • Kristian

      Hi Andrada,

      That’s correct – you have to arrange paying in installments with your university, since DUO will also pay you in installments. Even if you receive your first installment from DUO too late, you still have to pay your university on time. This means that sometimes you might have to pay the first installment yourself.

  • Rupal Dani

    What are the exact fees of BA archeology at Leiden university.

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