All students need to keep on top of their financial matters. Tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses and student life all require funding. Throw in another currency and another culture, and you have quite a task on your hands! Luckily there are many forms of financial aid available to you, as an international student in NL. Which type of loan you are eligible for will depend on your personal situation. On this page we will discuss all the various forms of financial support on offer to expat students. Read on to learn about which ones apply to you, and how you can arrange them, in order to make the most of your time studying in Holland!

Tuition Fees in NL

How much you will have to pay to study at a government-funded higher ed institution in NL, as an international student, will depend on where you are from:

  • Expat students from the EU, the EEA, Switzerland and Surinam should expect to pay anything upwards of €2,006 per year
  • Thats is, for 2017/2018. Prices could rise in the future
  • Unfortunately, students of all other nationalities generally have to pay higher fees
  • The average tuition fee for a bachelor’s program is between € 6,000 and € 17,000
  • For a master’s program it is between € 9,400 and € 20,000
  • Tuition for theology studies, however, is lower

Affordable Education

This might seem expensive. However, tuition fees in the Netherlands are generally considered to be very reasonable:

  • Compared to many other countries, international higher education fees in NL are relatively low
  • The level of education in Holland is also of an excellent standard
  • Plenty of grants are available
  • EU, EEA and Swiss students can still apply for ‘studiefinanciering‘. This is the a study loan from the Dutch government, which we will explain in more detail in the paragraphs below

Student Finance in NL

In Dutch, student finance is referred to as ‘studiefinanciering‘. Unfortunately, it will not automatically be available to all international students who come to the Netherlands. We will cover what makes you eligible for this loan a little later on, so keep reading!  

If you do meet the requirements to receive studiefinanciering, we advise you to accept it! It is a huge asset when it comes to financial matters for students in NL. The Dutch student finance system works as follows:

  • Students no longer receive a grant from the government, with which they pay for their studies
  • Instead, students can take out a maximum loan of € 1042
  • This loan includes a tuition fee loan
  • It is up to students themselves to decide how large a loan they would like
  • There are no longer any limits to the amount of money a student is permitted to earn whilst he or she is receiving studiefinanciering
  • If their parents are of limited financial means, students can apply for an additional grant of € 391 a month

Once the Studying is Over

  • This grant will be converted into a gift, if the student achieves his or her diploma within ten years
  • Students in the Netherlands have 15 years to pay off their student loan
  • Those who commence their studies in the academic year of 2018-2019 will have 35 years to pay off their loan 
  • If you entered a Dutch university as a student of applied sciences between 2015 and 2019 or between 2018 and 2019, you will be issued a € 2000-voucher for further studies. That is, on the condition that you obtain your diploma
  • It is important to note that the old student finance system will continue to apply to students following secondary vocational education, or ‘MBO

The Student Travel Card in NL

  • If you are eligible to receive a Dutch student finance loan, you will automatically be eligible for a Studenten OV-chipkaart
  • This is a discount student travel card, which can be used on all forms of Dutch public transport
  • With your card, you can travel for free either during the weekend or on weekdays
  • You must choose which part of the week you would like to claim your free travel on, for yourself
  • You will still be able to travel at a reduced rate during the other days of the week
  • Using a student discount on public transport is also subject to whether or not you complete your studies within ten years
  • If you fail to meet this condition, you will have to make a retroactive monthly payment for having possessed your card
  • You can own and use a Studenten OV-chipkaart for a maximum of five years
  • You can still have a student travel pass, if you do not take out a Dutch student finance loan

Are you Eligible for Dutch Student Finance?

In order to receive Dutch student finance, you must possess ‘demonstrable’ ties with the Netherlands. Below we have outlined the requirements that constitute ‘demonstrable ties’. 

Student Finance for Non-Dutch Nationals

You can apply for Dutch student finance if you are a non-Dutch national, who legally resides in the Netherlands. You will be eligible for ‘studiefinanciering’ if you are either:

  • Enrolled in full-time higher education, or:
  • Enrolled in a dual course that will last at least one year

Eligibility for EU, EEA or Swiss Nationals

If you are an EU,EEA or Swiss national, you must meet the following requirements in order to qualify for Dutch student finance:

  • You must have lived in the Netherlands for five consecutive years
  • During this time, you must only have lived outside of the Netherlands for a maximum of six months
  • If you, or if your non-Dutch parent or partner, have lived away from Holland for a significant period of time contact DUO
  • DUO stands for ‘Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs
  • It is the Dutch Ministry of Education. There could be some additional conditions to which you must adhere

Residence Permits for Non-Dutch Nationals

As well as meeting one of the above conditions, non-Dutch Nationals must hold one of the following residence permits:

  • Type I (temporary) residence permit. This permit must have been issued to you on particular grounds
  • Type II (permanent) residence permit
  • Type III (temporary) residence permit
  • Residence permit type V. This is an EU residence permit for long-term residents
  • Asylum seekers must have a type IV (permanent) residence permit

The DUO strongly advises non-Dutch EU students to do the following:

  • If they have not been living in the Netherlands for five consecutive years or more, contact one of the DUO support Offices
  • They can provide you with further information regarding Dutch student finance

If, according to the requirements above, you are not eligible to receive Dutch student finance, fear not! There are plenty of other forms of assistance available to you. Read on to learn about them.

Side Note

In order to receive student finance in the Netherlands, you must arrange to have a ‘DigiD’. This is your Dutch Digital Identity

Tuition Fees Loan in NL

If You Do not Qualify for Student Finance 

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who do not qualify for full studiefinanciering, can still apply for a tuition fee loan. This loan can be repaid once they have completed their studies.

How large a loan a student can receive, depends on the type of institution they are attending. If you are:

1. Legally receiving tuition fees, that are being put towards a higher education from a government-funded Dutch University:

  • You can receive a total annual amount of € 2,060
  • That is, for the academic year of 2018-19

2. If your loan money is being used to pay tuition fees to a non-government-funded institute of higher education in NL:

  • You can apply for a loan for whatever the sum of the fees for your institution comes to
  • This means that you can receive up to a maximum of five times the ‘legal’ tuition fee quantity, charged by a government-funded education institution

Nationality and Eligibility

To qualify for a tuition fee loan, you must be between the ages of 18 and 30, and come from one of the countries listed below:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • 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
  • Switzerland

Accepted Types of Institution

In addition, you must be enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited course at one of the following institutions:

Further Requirements

You must also have:

Lifelong Learning Credit in NL

If you qualify for neither studiefinanciering nor a tuition fees loan, you can apply for something called ‘lifelong learning credit‘. You can receive this loan, upon the following conditions:

  • You are a full-time, dual or part-time student at a university of applied sciences, or a research university, in the Netherlands
  • You are a full-time student in an MBO learning program
  • Your study program is officially recognized in the Netherlands
  • You are an EU, an EEA or a Swiss National
  • You have a residence permit. Said permit bust be of type II, III, IV or V
  • If you have a type I permit, refer to the DUO, to see whether you qualify for lifelong learning credit
  • You are older than 30 and younger than 55

Side Note

Under certain conditions, you can apply for lifelong learning credit if you are under the age of 30. To qualify, you must:

  • Already have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree
  • Be following a second full-time, or part-time, study at a university of applied sciences
  • Not be in receipt of full reimbursement for your tuition fees. This means that neither an employer, nor a parent, can be helping you to fund your higher eductaion
  • If, however, another party is only partially reimbursing you for your study fees, you can request credit for the remaining amount

Grants in the Netherlands

Scholarships for EU Students

EU students have many of their financial matters taken care of for them, if they come to the Netherlands to study as part of an exchange program. For example, the following affairs will be organized on their behalf:

Scholarships for Non-EU Students

If you are coming to the Netherlands from outside of the EU, we recommend that you take a look into which grants or scholarships are available to you. They could really help cover the costs of your higher education in NL.

If there are scholarships available for international students, they tend to be for students:

  • In a particular field of study
  • From a particular country or region

As well as looking for scholarships online, we recommend that you contact your University and ask what is available. Some institutions have special grant programs for international students.

Refugee and Asylum Seeking Students in NL

Approach the ‘Stichting UAF Steunpunt‘ if you are about to begin your higher education in NL, and you have refugee status, or you are seeking asylum in Holland.

The Stichting UAF Steunpunt is the foundation for refugee students in the Netherlands:

  • They will be able to tell you whether there is a grant available to you
  • There is a small British flag in the top, right-hand corner of their website
  • Click on this flag to access an English-language leaflet. It lists the conditions you must meet, in order to receive financial assistance during your studies in NL

Banking as a Student in NL

All international students will need to open a Dutch bank account, in order to manage their financial matters. Most Dutch banks will be very accommodating:

  • Many banks respect and understand that because foreign students have come to gain a good quality higher education in a completely new and unfamiliar country all by themselves, they need financial advice and support
  • Therefore, you should find the staff friendly and flexible
  • If you ask about their loans, they will endeavour to advise you, and find one that suits you personally
  • They will be open to working out an arrangement that will help you cover your fees
  • They should only expect you to pay back your loan once you have completed your studies and found a job
  • In Dutch cities that have large international student populations, banks should be especially helpful
  • Staff will be happy to answer any questions related to financial matters you may have
  • They will, however, certainly ask to see your student registration
  • You will probably need to provide a guarantor too

Special Banking Programs for Students in NL

The following Dutch banks have special programs for students. We recommend that you contact one of them to set up your banking, whilst you are studying in the Netherlands:

These student banking programs will include features such as:

  • 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
  • Other insurances

Student Insurance in NL

If you are a student, under 30 years of age, who has come to NL solely for the purpose of studying, you will be exempt from the general requirement to take out Dutch public health care insurance. In order to be immune to this requirement you cannot hold a part-time job, or a paid internship, during your studies. In addition, you are obligated to make alternative arrangements:

Insurance for European Students

If you are from an EU-country:

Insurance for Non-European Students

If you are from a non-EU country, this financial matter requires further attention. Here’s what we suggest:

  • You can take out a private insurance policy in Holland
  • There are private packages on the market, created specially for international students
  • Visit AON for more information
  • This company has packages that include liability insurance, household content insurance and legal advice
  • We advise you to read up on the different kinds of Dutch insurance that exist in NL. This way, you will know which forms on insurance you are, and are not, obligated to have
  • If you are covered by a public health care insurance plan in your home country, check whether it will cover you during your studies abroad too

Student Jobs in NL

There is nothing to prevent you from taking on a paid job alongside your studies in the Netherlands. In fact, it is a great way to gain work experience and to give your finances a boost! However, there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • You will only be allowed to work in Holland if you have a residence permit and a ‘burgerservicenummer’. This is a Dutch Citizen Service Number
  • Depending on your nationality, you can only work for a limited number of hours per week in NL
  • Your employer must also apply for a work permit on your behalf 
  • Make sure that you check which regulations apply to you before you apply for, or accept, a job. Your University should be able to help you with this

Types of Student Job in NL

What kind of work can you do as a student in NL?

The Perks of Work

  • The process of asking your boss to apply for your work permit should be relatively uncomplicated, if you are from the EU. So do not be put off by having to do this
  • EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are free to work as many hours as they like in the Netherlands, alongside their studies
  • Do not forget that you will have to take out Dutch healthcare insurance if you take on a job. You risk receiving a hefty fine if you fail to do this
  • There is no limit to how much you are allowed to earn, whilst you are receiving the ‘studiefinanciering’ loan. We will discuss this in more detail further on

A Career in Holland After Graduation

Are you considering forging a career in the Netherlands, after graduating from your Dutch institution?

Most expatriates have three years to request a Dutch residence permit, following the conclusion of their studies. They must dedicate one of these three years to finding work as a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands. This rule applies to the following graduates:

  • 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 a Ph.D., at a qualifying university abroad
  • Scientific researchers
  • Post-doctoral students

Said expats can also use this time to start up an ‘innovative company’, or to work without a work permit. Until they find work, however, they will not be eligible for benefits in NL. This makes it unlikely that they will be able to cover the basic costs of living in Holland.

Useful links

  • Educaide: Advise on all forms of higher education in Holland
  • Study in Holland: Everything you need to know about higher education in NL
  • Career Professor: The network that bridges the gap between graduates and employers
  • Millian: find masters programs and business courses in NL

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