Student Financing from DUO

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    The Complete Guide to Student Financing from DUO

    While the higher education system in the Netherlands offers plenty of choices to receive a quality education, the truth is that higher education is never cheap. Most of us are broke students finding ways to earn money to pay for our education; some work part-time jobs whereas others save for years. Fortunately, in the Netherlands, DUO gives students like you a way to receive student finance quickly and easily.

     Finding enough money to pay for your higher education may be overwhelming

    What is student financing by DUO

    Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO), is an agency of the ministry of education. Students who need financial support can get assistance from DUO. Not every student can fork up enough money to maintain an ordinary student life while paying tuition fee at the same time, which is why DUO is there to help. DUO currently offers four distinct benefits for international students. 

    Student loan

    The most basic allowance you can receive is the student loan (regular loan). Every month you will receive a maximum of €494.39 (2020). You can change the amount you receive every month via Mijn DUO

    Keep in mind that this loan will need to be paid back with interest on the 1st of January after you’ve lost the right to receive the loan. The starting date of debt payment will be ten years after registration, or after you’ve completed your higher education. 

    You will not be forced to pay back your loan in the first two years, but you can if you want to. After these initial two years, you will pay back a calculated amount every month, including interest. The interest rate is 0% in 2020. 

    Supplementary grant

    The supplementary grant is an addition to the normal student loan. The good news is that you won’t have to pay the supplementary grant back as long as you finish your education in 10 years. 

    Instead of being a fixed amount, a supplementary grant is dependent on the income of your parents. Hence why we highly advise students who can request the supplementary grant to do so, as long as you are sure that you will finish your education within 10 years.

    For 2020, the benefit is set to €403.17 a month. To calculate the amount you will receive, use the calculation tool from DUO. If you do need to pay back the supplementary grant, you will need to pay back the full amount with interest included, which for 2020 is at 0%.

    Tuition fee loan

    Tuition fee is the cost students will need to pay before being let into a study. The amount is approximately €2083 every year for students from EU/EEA countries. 

    The tuition fee loan is meant to make your tuition fee more tolerable. This loan is however, only accessible to Dutch citizens and EU/EEA and Swiss citizens that meet the requirements. As this loan is meant for your tuition fee, you can only borrow a maximum of €2083.00 divided over a period you will indicate. 

    After your study, you will need to pay the full amount back with interest included. The interest rate for 2020 is 0%. 

    Student travel product

    The student travel product is a subscription that you can add onto your public transportation card, or OV-chip card. This will allow you to travel for free during weekdays or weekends; it’s your choice. When you check-in during your free days, no money will be deducted from your card. 

    You will, however, accumulate debt over the course of the subscription, which you will have to stop using when your study term ends. If you’ve successfully completed your study, this debt will be converted into a gift so you won’t have to pay it back. 

    Needless to say, if you don’t complete your education in time, you will need to pay back the full amount with interest rates applied, which for 2020 is at 0%. 

    Am I eligible for student finance?

    Because student life means having to pay for expensive tuition fees and overpriced books, DUO provides several initiatives meant to cover different expenses. All these allowances are collectively named studiefinanciering (student finance). 

    Several requirements must be met for you to be considered eligible for any of the benefits. Unfortunately, if you’re from a non-EEA/EU country, you cannot apply for student finance even if you have a valid residence or work permit. Don’t fret however, as you may still be eligible for some scholarships in the Netherlands.  

    If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you must own a residence permit type II in order to be eligible for student finance. You receive a residence permit type II in one of these cases:

    • You have been living in the Netherlands for at least five consecutive years
    • You have worked in the Netherlands for 56+ hours a month
    • Your non-Dutch parent/partner has the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and works or has worked in the Netherlands for 56+ hours a month

    Furthermore, you must meet the following requirements as well:

    • You must be enrolled for a full-time/dual course at an HBO program, or university
    • You must be under 30 years old
    • You must be registered in a city hall, have a BSN and a DigiD
    • You must have a Dutch bank account 

    The tuition fee loan is special as different requirements apply. Only these requirements must be met:

    • You must be enrolled in a full-time/dual course at an HBO program, or university
    • You have the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland
    • You must be under 30
    • You pay your tuition fees in the Netherlands

    For British students, the same requirements apply for 2020, but this could potentially change in 2021 because of Brexit. Refer to DUO official website for the most up to date information on Brexit

    How to apply

    If you are eligible for student finance, you must make an appointment with the service desk of DUO to legitimise your claim. You will need these documents:

    Five consecutive years or more living in the Netherlands:

    • A copy of your ID.

    Ownership of a permanent, temporary, or stand-by contract in the Netherlands:

    You work for 56+ hours a month in the Netherlands:

    • employment contract and the most recent payslip and matching bank statement
    • ID card

    Your non-Dutch parent works for 56+ hours a month in the Netherlands:

    • employment contract and the most recent payslip and matching bank statement
    • your ID card and your parent’s ID card
    • your birth certificate

    Your non-Dutch partner works for 56+ hours a month in the Netherlands:

    • employment contract and the most recent payslip and matching bank statement
    • ID card of yourself and your partner’s
    • your marriage or civil partnership certificate

    A copy of these documents will suffice for your application.

    After the appointment with the service desk, you can apply for any of these students benefits via Mijn DUO. You will be presented with a short application procedure, after which you will receive your benefits at a designated date which you can see at Mijn DUO too. 

    A sample of the application form for student finance. Source: DUO

    For a few benefits, such as the supplementary grant, you won’t have to do anything after requesting for it. You can also change the amount of benefit received or stop receiving any benefit entirely, but your debt will of course remain.

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