‘Financial Matters’. The words alone are intimidating. However, there is nothing to be afraid of, because here is some advice on: arranging a loan, taking out insurance, finding a job, and securing grants and scholarships.
The following banks have special programs for students: ABN Amro, ING, Rabobank and SNS. Go in and ask about their student loans. Most will be willing to support you financially, and to answer any finance-related questions you may have. Here is a list of matters to consider, when deciding which bank is right for you. Do they have:
- Special interest rates?
- A maximum loan?
- The use of a credit card?
- Special repayment programs?
- Health insurance for those who cannot take out a health insurance in the Netherlands, and other insurances?
Some banks are very willing to help foreign students. This applies especially to those in cities with substantial international student populations. They are often flexible on arrangements regarding the coverage of studying fees, as well as when you have to repay your loan. Usually, they only ask you to do this once you have completed your studies and have a job. These banks will certainly ask to see your student registration, and you will require a guarantor too.
If you are under the age of 30, and are in the Netherlands solely for study purposes, you are exempt from the general requirement to take out Dutch public health care insurance. This is on the condition that you are not in a part-time job or a paid internship. However, you will have to make alternative arrangements. Are you covered under a public health care insurance plan at home? If so, make sure this provides adequate coverage during your stay in the Netherlands. If you are from an EU-country, your insurance company can provide you with an EU Health Insurance Card. This acts as proof of your insurance. Otherwise, you will have to make other arrangements. One option is to take out a private insurance policy. There are private packages on the market, created especially for international students. Try visiting AON (www.students-insurance.eu). Their packages also include liability insurance, household content insurance, legal advice, and more. studentsinsured.com is another useful site.
You can find out more about insurance here.
Here is a list of what you can expect, and what you should remember, when securing a job as a student:
- It is not against the rules to take on a paid job, alongside your studies.
- You will need a residence permit and a burgerservicenummer (Citizen Service Number) in order to work!
- Depending on your nationality, you may only be able to work for a limited number of hours per week.
- If you are from outside of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, your employer will also have to apply for a work permit on your behalf. Be sure to read up on these regulations carefully! They stipulate that you can either be employed full-time in June, July and August or part-time, for no more than 10 hours a week, outside of the summer period.
- It should not be complicated for your employer to organize your work permit. They will not be required prove that there are no EU, EEA or Swiss nationals capable of doing the job.
- EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are free to work as many hours as they like, alongside their studies.
- Do not forget that, if you take on a job without having health care insurance, you risk a hefty fine.
- Many students have ‘on-the-side jobs’ in cafés and restaurants.
- Other students find work through student employment agencies.
- Some students just seek out work themselves.
- If you feel your Dutch is not up to snuff then why not try the bigger, multinational companies in the Netherlands. They often have international projects that can be carried out by people who speak very little Dutch, or none at all. You can find a list of these companies here.
- For more options, visit www.studentsforstudents.nl. Most opportunities listen here will require you to speak Dutch.
- If you are receiving the ‘studiefinanciering’ loan, there is no limit on how much you are allowed to earn!
A CAREER IN HOLLAND AFTER GRADUATION
Are you considering starting your career in the Netherlands after graduating from a Dutch institution? Then visit www.careerinholland.nl.
After graduating, you have three years to request a residence permit. You must dedicate a year to finding work as a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands. This goes for:
- Foreign students who have obtained a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in the Netherlands
- Students that have obtained a master’s degree or their Ph.D. at a qualifying university abroad
- Scientific researchers and post-doctoral students.
You can also use this time window to start a so-called ‘innovative company’, or to work without a permit. Until you find work, you are not eligible for benefits, and may consequently struggle to provide for yourself.
EU-students, who come to the Netherlands as part of an EU exchange program, have many benefits. They will receive help with acceptance into an educational institution as well as with funding and housing. To find out more about this, you can look into the Erasmus program.
Students from both inside and outside of the EU can gain scholarships. Find out whether you qualify here.
Check out scholarshipportal.com as well, or contact your university in the Netherlands. It may have grants for international students.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Those who have refugee status or are seeking asylum in the Netherlands can approach Stichting UAF Steunpunt. They can offer you information on which higher education grants grants are available to you. Click on the little British flag in the top right-hand quarter of their website. This will enable you to access a leaflet, listing the conditions you must meet.
The law on the studiefinanciering changed in September 2015. Now, students no longer receive a grant from the government to cover their study costs. Instead, they can take out a maximum loan of €1,033. This includes a tuition fee loan. This amount will rise to €1035 in September of this year. It is up to the student to determine exactly how high they want their loan to be. If your parents have limited financial means, you can apply for an additional grant of €386 a month. This will go up to €388 in September. It will be converted into a gift if you obtain your diploma within ten years.
Those who are currently enrolled in higher education have 15 years to pay off their loan. Those who enter higher education in the 2018-2019 academic year will have 35 years to pay it off. There are no longer any limits on the amount of money you are allowed to earn while receiving studiefinanciering. If you enter a Dutch university of applied sciences between now and the 2018/19 academic year, and obtain your diploma, you will be issued a € 2000-voucher for further studies. Please note that the old system will still apply to students following secondary vocational education (MBO). For further information on this, visit: www.duo.nl.
If you are eligible for the studiefinanciering loan, you also qualify for the Studenten OV-chipkaart. You can use this to travel for free on public transport during either the weekend, or on weekdays (your choice). You receive reduced rates on other days as well. Please note that, if you do not finish your studies within 10 years, you will owe a monthly amount for possessing this card. You can use a Studenten OV-chipkaart for a maximum of five years. You are still allowed to use it if you have not taken out a loan.
Visit www.duo.nl, and click on ‘Foreign Student’, for more information on study grants, the restitution of tuition fees and much more. Note: make sure you arrange a ‘DigiD’. You cannot receive studiefinanciering without one!
Studiefinanciering for Non-Dutch Nationals
Are you are a non-Dutch national, legally residing in the Netherlands? You can apply for the studiefinanciering-loan if:
- you are an EU EEA or Swiss national, and have lived in the Netherlands for five consecutive years with a maximum interruption of six months. Still, be sure to contact the DUO to find out if there are additional conditions.
- you have a type I (temporary) residence permit, issued on a variety of grounds (for an overview, please visit the site of the IB Groep)
- you have a type II (permanent) residence permit
- you have a type III (temporary) residence permit
- you have a type IV (permanent) residence permit, for asylum seekers
- you have a type V residence permit (EU residence permit for long-term residents).
DUO strongly advises foreign EU-students, who have not been living in the Netherlands for five consecutive years or more, to contact one of their support offices. They can provide you with further information.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who do not qualify for the studiefinanciering-loan, can apply for a tuition fee loan. It will be repaid upon completing their studies. please see the following paragraph.
Loan Tuition Fees
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, but do not qualify for the studiefinanciering-loan, you can still receive a loan to cover your tuition fees. With regards to legal tuition fees, paid in connection with a government-funded institute of higher education, the total annual amount of the loan is €2,006 (for the academic year of 2017-18). For tuition fees paid to a non-government-funded institute of higher education, you can apply for a loan for the total amount of fees. The amount can be anything below the maximum of five times the so-called legal tuition fees. Interestingly, the age limit has just changed. As ofAugust 2017, you no longer have to be younger than 30 to apply for a tuition fee loan. You can request one until you reach the age of 55 (called lifelong credit)!
To qualify for this, you must meet this list of conditions:
- be between the ages of 18 and 30
- be from: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Switzerland
- be enrolled as a full-time student, in an accredited course, at a funded or recognized institute of higher education, university, senior vocational education (MBO), or secondary vocational education for adults (VAVO).
- have a burgerservicenummer
- have your own bank account in the Netherlands
- have completed a ‘Restitution of tuition fee’ form. (There are separate forms for MBO and VAVO)
Forms can be downloaded from www.ib-groep.nl. Apply for restitution before January 31, of the school year in which you wish to continue receiving it. For the 2017-2018 school year, this means you must have applied for it by January 31, 2018.
Five Years of Legal Residence
You need to be able to prove that you have been living here for at least five years (with a maximum interruption of six months). To do this, you must submit the ‘long-term residence of citizens of the Union’ document. If you fail to do so, there will be no history of your registration in the various municipalities you have lived in in the Netherlands.
If you qualify for the studiefinanciering-loan, you use it abroad. However, you must possess ‘demonstrable’ ties with the Netherlands in order to do this. The following constitute ‘demonstrable’ ties:
- You have legally resided in the Netherlands for three years, preceding your six years of legal residence. Be sure to visit the DUO website to read more about this. Some extra ties and/or exceptions may apply to you as well.
- You do not receive a grant from abroad, and what you study abroad is considered to be of ‘sufficient quality’. This is applicable to both a temporary period abroad, or to a full study program.
Do not forget that you will have to take out health care insurance if you take on a job, as you risk a hefty fine if you don’t.
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