WUP 05/12/2014 - New Dutch Student Loans System to Start in 2015 - Despite continued protests, it’s becoming evident that new Dutch students starting with their bachelor or master studies in September 2015 will most likely not receive a basic grant from the Dutch government like it was done in the past.
However, the good news is that they - along with students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland - will still be eligible for a study loan from the department of education (DUO) with lenient repayment terms. The loan can cover their full study fee as well as maintenance costs – even when they choose to study at a private, but fully accredited university, like Wittenborg University.
The majority of parties in the Dutch government’s Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives) this week voted for the abolition of the basic grant for students and the introduction of a new loan system.
The last hurdle in pushing through the legislation will be getting the Eerste Kamer (First House) to approve the changes, but it is unlikely that the majority of parties will vote against it. The Dutch minister of education, culture and science, Jet Bussemaker, has urged members of the house for a speedy process. The bill has already been adapted several times with concessions such as a lowering of the minimum amount former students has to repay monthly should they take a loan as well as having access to financing from the first day of study.
How does the new student financing work?
As of 1 September 2015 the basic grant will no longer be available to students who are starting their studies, whether on bachelor or master level. Instead, students will be able to take a loan from about 980 euros maximum per month (you determine the amount yourself according to your fee and living expenses). Repayments must be done within a period of 15 to 35 years. Students are also entitled to only start with the repayments once they start earning more than the minimum salary.
Students from disadvantaged homes, will receive a supplementary grant of 365 euros per month which will be considered a gift should they graduate within 10 years. If not, they will get 15 – 35 years to repay the loan.
Students who are already receiving the basic grant will continue receiving it for the duration of their studies.
If you are an international student from the EU/EEA/Switzerland
If you have the nationality of an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland, you qualify for student finance if you have been living in the Netherlands for 5 consecutive years or more. Or if you (or your non-Dutch parent or partner) are working in the Netherlands for at least 56 hours per month.
Do you not have the nationality of an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland? Then you still qualify for student finance if you have a residence permit type II, III or IV. Check the nationality chart below if you have another type of permit.
The repayment period of your student debt starts on 1 January following the expiration of your right to a student grant. First you have a preliminary phase, lasting 2 years. During that time you are not required to make repayments, although it is possible. After the preliminary phase, the repayment phase (up to 15 years) starts. During this phase you have to repay your debt. Interest is charged during both the preliminary phase and the repayment phase.
DUO will calculate a relevant monthly installment which should enable you to repay the loan in full within 15 years. The monthly instalment depends on the amount of student debt you owe and the interest. The minimum amount is €45.41 per month.
If you have difficulty paying the monthly instalment DUO has set for you, you can submit a request to have it reduced. We will then use your income from 2 years ago to calculate how much you can afford to repay. Or you can ask DUO to temporarily stop collecting your study debt (for a maximum of 5 years).