New loan system for Dutch students sails through parliament

New loan system for Dutch students sails through parliamentFrom 1 September 2015 new Dutch and EU students who need financial assistance qualify for a study loan of up to €1 016 per month, with which they can pay their study fees. Wittenborg students pay around €525- a month in tuition fees, leaving €491- for housing and living expenses, generally topping up what they can earn with a part time job (around €500 a month).

From 1 September 2015 new Dutch and EU students who need financial assistance qualify for a study loan of up to €1 016 per month, in accordance with new rules for study financing in the Netherlands. Students can already start applying from 7 April 2015.

The Dutch education system is facing its biggest reform in decades: As per 1 September 2015 new Dutch Bachelor and Master students will no longer receive a basic grant from the government like in the past. Instead, those in dire straits will need to take out a loan – albeit with very lenient terms.

The controversial proposal for a new study finance system sailed through the Dutch parliament on Tuesday with a majority vote, despite widespread protests since it was announced last year. The Ministry of Higher Education reckons it can save up to €1 billion which will be re-invested in education.

 As an international institute Wittenborg University enrolls many students from the Netherlands as well as students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland in its Bachelor and Master programmes each year. The costs for a typical Bachelor programme at Wittenborg amounts to €6 500 per year, which translates to about €542 per month – well below the maximum amount Dutch and EU students are allowed to borrow under the new system.

Further good news is that those students who are already receiving the basic grant from the government will continue to get it until they finish their studies which means they will not have to take out a loan.

In addition, students from disadvantaged homes – where parents earn less than €46 000 per year - will receive a supplementary grant. Students whose parents earn less than €30 000 per annum will qualify for a supplementary grant of up to €378 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.

The first batch of students (2015-2016) who apply for a study loan will receive a voucher of €2 000 upon graduation which they can use for further education between 5 and 10 years after they graduated.

What are the terms for repayment?

Students will be able to take a loan of maximum €1 016 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 (currently just less than €1 500 per month).

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.

An official from the DUO told Wittenborg News yesterday that EU/EEA/Swiss students have the same rights as Dutch students pertaining to student financing provided they adhere to the conditions above.

You do 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.

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.

Source: https://duo.nl/particulieren/studievoorschot/default.asp

WUP 22/1/2015

by Anesca Smith

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