Dutch Student Finance for EU Students

For British passport holders none of the information on this page is relevant unless you were ordinarily resident in the Netherlands before 31st December 2020. We have kept this information on the page because it still applies to anyone with an EU passport. This includes British nationals who are also Irish, French etc. (Dutch nationals enjoy slightly different terms and conditions).

We have not updated this page to include relevant student finance for British nationals simply because there isn't any. You cannot take British loans to study in the Netherlands and you cannot access Dutch student finance anymore. Additionally, tuition fees are no longer subsidised meaning that British and other non-EU nationals will be expected to meet the full cost of their education.

Obviously this is bad news and not what you will want to hear if you are British. However, there is no point beating around the bush. Maybe there will be renegotiations at some point but for now, this is what Brexit means.

How does Dutch Student Finance work for EU nationals?

Studying in the Netherlands is not free, nor is it necessarily cheap.

The Dutch Government funds students on exactly the same basis at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Therefore, it is possible for students to access tuition fee loans under the same conditions as following a Bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands. British students can freely access the tuition fee loan and under certain conditions are able to receive living costs loans.

In addition, tuition fees for Master's at research universities in the Netherlands currently stand at €2,168 (2021/22). For certain subjects, generally in the sciences or research masters programmes, courses usually take 2 years. Some Master's degrees have much higher fees as they are not subsidised by the Dutch government. These are usually referred to as Professional Master's and are offered by Universities of Applied Sciences. We have also come across Master's degrees that charge even higher fees but these are quite rare. If you are applying for a Master's with higher tuition fees, please check whether the tuition fee loan will be available to you.

It is possible to find sponsorship funding in the Netherlands as well and we suggest you contact individual universities to learn directly about these opportunities. One further source of information is the website www.grantfinder.nl. Here you will find a list of all known scholarships for international students at Dutch universities. These tend to be offered to non-EU students but there are some options that could be applicable to British students.


Help with tuition fees?

Because the European Union dictates that all EU citizens must be treated equally, EU passport holders are automatically eligible for a tuition fee loan from the Dutch government. This is called Collegegeldkrediet. You don't have to apply for Collegegeldkrediet if you don't need it and you can pay the fees upfront if you wish. Some universities charge higher tuition fees, specifically private universities and university colleges. In these cases you will be able to borrow the full amount.

This loan is available to anyone with an EU passport. It is not important where you are ordinarily resident.

There are some important conditions you need to meet but these are rarely an issue for British students. You must be under the age of 30 when you start your course*, you must have a Dutch bank account and you must have a Dutch "burgerservicenummer"; (citizen service number) which you will only receive when you have a permanent address in the Netherlands.

*If you will be aged between 30 and 55 when you start your studies, there is a new Lifelong Learning Loanthat might be suitable for you.


How does Collegegeldkrediet work?

This is the tuition fee loan component of Dutch student financial support. It consists of a loan to cover the tuition fees for your course. In 2021/22 this will typically be €2,168. The loan is paid directly into your bank account in monthly instalments and it is your responsibility to pay the university.

Some universities request payment in full for the whole year, or at the start of each semester. This can mean that you have to pay the fees before you receive the loan which may have a temporary impact on your cashflow.

You have to pay interest on Collegegeldkrediet and this is applied from the day you take out the loan. The current interest rate is 0.00%.

There is a two year interval after graduation before you start repaying your loan. The loan must be repaid in full over a maximum of 15 years and there is no mechanism for it to be written off automatically after that time. DUO will calculate the rate of repayment. The minimum monthly repayment is EUR 45.41 but this can be reduced at the discretion of the Dutch government. You will have to repay the loan in full even if you do not complete your degree or if you leave the country.

You can only apply for Collegegeldkrediet once you have a confirmed offer from a Dutch higher education institution.  Your offer will only be confirmed once you have received your undergraduate degree. For most students this means you cannot apply until just before you start your course. As a result, it is quite common for the loan to come through after you have had to pay the first instalment of the fees.

You can apply for the loan at any point up to 31st January in the academic year for which you wish to claim.

The current application form is here. (The Dutch government regularly moves the location of the application form so do not be surprised if this link is broken. We have to update it at least twice a year.)

For more information

Help with Living Costs?


...unless you work part-time for 56 hours a month every month of the year or meet some other requirements. You can access support towards living costs (Studiefinanciering) if you meet any of the following:

  • you have a Dutch passport, or have been resident in the Netherlands for five years without significant interruption;
  • you work 56 hours a month in a registered job. You will need to be registered with the Dutch authorities for income tax and national insurance, although as a student you won't actually have to pay this;
  • you are married or have a partner from the EU and Switzerland, if they work 56 hours a month with a contract from a Dutch employer;
  • your parent works 56 hours a month with a contract from a Dutch employer and is resident in the Netherlands;
  • If you, your partner or your parent is an independent entrepreneur and/or freelancer based in the Netherlands, works 56 hours a month, and you can prove this to the satisfaction of the Dutch government.

There are some additional conditions that you need to meet in order to be eligible for "Stufi". You need to have the job for three months before you submit your claim for support. The support you receive will not be backdated so, unless you line up a job before you start studying, you cannot count on this support from day one. If you work you must also purchase Dutch health insurance. Ordinarily you can survive as a student in the Netherlands with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the British government. If you work, you will need full health insurance. The cost of this insurance is usually around EUR 90 a month but you can claim back around EUR 70 of this (only if you are working - you cannot claim anything back if you aren't).

This financial assistance is provided on the basis of your residency status in the Netherlands and not your student status.

How does Studiefinanciering work?

Please remember you cannot access any of this unless you meet at least one of the criteria outlined above.

If you are a full-time student at a Dutch higher education institution you can now borrow up €1,016 per month. This includes the tuition fee loan amount. Effectively this means that you have an income of up to €800 a month from this source.

Bearing in mind that you need to work 56 hours a month in order to claim this, it is extremely unlikely that you would need the full amount in order to meet your living costs. There is no hourly minimum wage in the Netherlands but if you were working 56 hours a month it is likely that your gross pay would be between €255 (19 year old) and  €485 (23 years and older).

There is a mechanism by which up to €378 per month of your loan can be converted into a gift after 10 years. This will depend on parental income.

There is a calculator for working out your eligibility for a loan on the DUO website here.  It is only available in Dutch.

This loan attracts interest at the rate of 0.81% per annum.

The repayment period for Studiefinanciering has been increased to 35 years. Any remaining debt will be waived after this time.

You can only apply for Studiefinanciering once you have three months worth of payslips from a Dutch employer that prove you are eligible for it. You can find the form here. It is all in Dutch. From January 2016 you will be able to apply for this loan retrospectively but it is still uncertain that you will get any support for the first three months.

For further information please visit the DUO website.

How to repay Dutch student finance?

Repayment of Dutch student loans depends on the amount that you have borrowed.

  1. If you only have Collegegeldkrediet you must repay over 15 years.
  2. If you have Studiefinanciering you must repay over 35 years.

Repayments will depend on the overall size of the loan but there are some safeguards built into the system. You will not have to repay if you are earning less than the full-time minimum wage. Repayments will be capped at a maximum of 4% of your gross earnings above the minimum wage. It is unclear exactly what thresholds will apply if you leave the Netherlands.

Default of loan repayments is not a major problem for the Dutch government. However, any student who leaves the country with the intention of not repaying the loan will almost certainly be found if they remain within the European Union. Students will then have to pay back not just the original loan but also a punitive rate of interest. The Dutch government will also be entitled to recover the cost of tracking down defaulters. This could easily treble the overall amount of the student loan. In short, failing to take responsibility for a student loan from the Dutch government is an unwise, not to say an illegal, suggestion.

About Study In Holland

Studyinholland.co.uk is an information service designed to assist British and Irish students in pursuing their university education in the Netherlands.

We have extensive knowledge of English-taught degrees in Holland and we also work with careers advisory services.

Studyinholland.co.uk is owned by A Star Future Ltd and is not affiliated with the Dutch government.