Student Finance: options, requirements and how do I apply?

Publicatiedatum 16 september 2022
Wijzigingsdatum 22 november 2022

Living expenses for a student in the Netherlands can be quite high. You have to pay for all kind of things like tuition fees, rent, books, sports and so on. In the Netherlands there is help to finance these expenses. In this blog we will explain what options you have and what the requirements are.

here are three ways you can finance your studies in the Netherlands: financial aid, scholarships and self-funding

Financial Aid

The Dutch government provides financial aid. This covers student finance and benefits like healthcare and housing allowances.

Student finance:

In the Netherlands the main financial aid offered to students is known as studiefinanciering (in Dutch) or student finance. Student finance is a package of financial support that can be broken down in 4 parts.

1. Tution fee loan.

      This amount of money is meant to pay your tuition. Every student has a right to the tuition fee loan as long as he is signed up to a university in The Netherlands. The sum of your tuition fee loan can never be higher than your college tuition. As of writing this blog the interest on this loan is 0%. You must pay back your loan after you graduate.

2. Supplementary grant

This is an extra sum of money meant for students whose parents don't earn enough to support them. You can calculate if you have a right to a supplementary grant through this calculator. The supplementary grant is a gift. But only if you finish a HBO or WO degree in the Netherlands within ten years of first receiving this sum.

3. Regular loan

The maximum amount of money you can lend depends on how much supplementary grant you will receive. If you are not entitled to a full supplementary grant, you can still decide to lend this part of the total sum. You must pay back your loan after you graduate.

An example: in September 2019 the maximum amount of student finance was €1.056,05. This was broken down to a maximum of €173,58 in tuition fee loan and a maximum of €396,39 in supplementary grant. This means if you have a maximum tuition fee loan and supplementary grant you can still loan €486,08. However if your parents have a higher earning and your supplementary grant is €200,- lower you are only entitled for €196,39 in supplementary grant. If that is the case are allowed to loan €686,08 instead. As of writing this blog this loan from the Dutch government still has a 0% interest.

4. Student travel product.

The student travel product provides a discount for traveling with Dutch public transport. You can choose to travel for free on weekdays or weekends. This helps student be mobile and allows you to travel through the city and the country. Actually this is a student travel loan from around €95,51 a month. 


Unfortunately there are some requirements you need to meet in order to be eligible for student finance.

  • You must be a Dutch national or have the same rights as a Dutch national (resident permit/nationality) or you must be an EU/EEA or Swiss national
  • You must be living in the Netherlands for at least 5 years of you have to work at least 56 hours a month for a Dutch employer (not for student travel product).
  • You must be registered in a full-time or dual program in a higher vocational education program (HBO) or university. If you are studying in a secondary vocational education program (MBO), more conditions apply.
  • You must be registered with a city hall. You must have a BSN and a DigiD
  • You must have a Dutch bank account

You can request the whole or parts of the student finance at by logging in with your DigiD/BSN. One issue you might run into is that the form is in Dutch. Most words can be translated by Google Translate to make sense, but if you have any issues request help at your university.


Next to student finance there are some additional allowances you might be able to apply for. Allowances are sums of money to support other primary needs of low-income citizens like students. There are four types of allowance but as a student you will most likely only apply for one or two.

First of you have healthcare allowance. Healthcare allowance is a monthly amount of money provided by the Dutch government to help cover your monthly health insurance bill. You can only apply for healthcare allowance if you have a Dutch health insurance. Similarly, the housing allowance is a sum to help with your monthly rent. There are specific requirements you have need to meet to be eligible for this allowance. First of all you need to have an independent living space. This means you must have a house or apartment for yourself. If you live in a student house with multiple people you are already not entitled to housing allowance. The best way to figure out if you are entitled to housing allowance is to check with the owner of your living space.


A scholarship is like financial aid but it comes in the form of an award. Scholarships are usually given out by universities or other institutions and are based on specific criteria. Specific criteria like having certain grades or qualities. Scholarships usually have application deadlines and/or are limited by how many are given out. So it’s important to apply early for them. Start by researching your universities website to see if they offer any scholarships or contact them directly. You can also use Nuffic’s search tool to find scholarships that you might be able to apply for. Unlike a loan, scholarship money does not have to be paid back.


Self-fundingThere is a chance you are not entitled to financial aid or a scholarship. If this is the case you will need to find other ways to fund your studies. You can search for a part-time job to combine with your studies or you can look into private loans.

It’s not always easy to find a job and meet the requirements to work as an international student. In this blog you can read what requirements you have to meet to be able to work in the Netherlands.

Recruit a Student is a job agency that works a lot with international students. We have diverse jobs available for international students. Sign up for a part-time job based on you own availability and we will make an appointment.


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