Student finance

Before you start your studies in the Netherlands, it’s important to get your finances in order. To be able to finance your studies and stay you can get a job on the side and/or apply for different financial support options. You might qualify for a scholarship or grant, certain benefits & allowances and have the possibility to take out a student loan. Furthermore, students benefit from the student travel product. This allows students to travel for free during the week or at weekends. On this page, you’ll find more information on organizing your student finance.

Cost of living & tuition fees in the Netherlands

To get insight into your monthly budget you’ll need to get an idea of your expenses. This mainly depends on the city you live in, your lifestyle and tuition fees. To give you an idea, a student spends an average of €800,- to €1.100,- a month. This includes:

  • Housing (€300,- to €600,- a month)
  • Food (€150,- to €250,-)
  • Transportation (€35,- to €75,- a month)
  • Healthcare insurance (€100,- a month)
  • Internet & mobile phone (€50,-)
  • Going out, personal care and sports (€200,- a month)

Tuition fees change each academic year and depend on your nationality. Average fees are:

  • For EU/EEA students: €2.087,- a year
  • For non-EU/EEA students: bachelor programmes between €6.000,- and €15.000,-. Master studies between €8.000,- and €20.000,-

Depending on your personal situation, you might need to look into financing your costs of living and tuition fees. Below different options are described.

Financing your studies in the Netherlands

Once you’ve set your eyes on your educational institution and studies, the moment arrives to look into financing your studies. Where to start?

Exchange programme

To encourage studying abroad, your educational institution in your home country might have existing exchange programmes. This can be a cheap and easy way to start your studies in the Netherlands since you might qualify for financial support from your home country (a study loan or grant). Maybe your parents can get indirect support through tax benefits. For more information, you best contact your university directly, more specifically the international office.

Work during your studies

Another way to finance your studies can be taking a job on the side. Both EU and non-EU students have this option. Non-EU students might need a work permit. You can check this on the website of the IND. To be able to work in the Netherlands you need a Citizen Service Number (BSN), for this, you can register at the town hall of your local municipality. As soon as you start to work, even if it’s a zero-hour, part-time job or paid internship, you’ll need to take out Dutch healthcare insurance.


A lot of universities (of applied sciences) in the Netherlands support international students by offering scholarships. A large variety of scholarships exist, such as the Erasmus +, Orange Tulip scholarship, Holland scholarship or NN Future matters scholarship. If you can apply for a certain scholarship, depends of your specific study course and the university-wide options. You can find more information about each specific scholarship and participating universities on the Nuffic website.

Student finance system in the Netherlands

To support students in funding their studies the Dutch government provides financial support to enable you to pay for your insurances, studies and costs of living. If you are eligible for student finance depends on:

  • Your age (you must be under 30 years old to qualify for student finance)
  • The study course you are enrolled in (this must be a full or dual time education and last at least 1 year) and residency status (residence permit type 2, 3, 4 or 5)
  • In case you’re an EU/EEA student or Swiss, you additionally need to work for a minimum of 56 hours a month (or you must have been living for over 5 years in the Netherlands).

The financial support consists of 4 (optional) parts:

Regular loan

When desired, you can take out a regular student loan. You can choose the amount of the student loan yourself to a maximum of €507,39 a month (2021) and use the calculation tool (only in Dutch). The student loan has to be paid back completely within 35 years.

You can find more information on the DUO-website.

Supplementary grant

In case you need additional funding, you might be eligible for a supplementary grant. This is the case if you are eligible for student finance. The amount of the grant is calculated using data of the income of your parents from the last 2 years. The maximum amount you can receive is €413,78 (2021). The supplementary grant is not a loan: the first 5 months are a gift and if you manage to graduate within 10 years the complete grant will be converted into a gift. In case you are not eligible for the grant, you can still take out the extra money as a loan.

Read more about the supplementary grant.

Tuition fee loan

In case you study at a Dutch university (of applied sciences) and are eligible for student finance, you can take out a tuition fee loan. The maximum amount you can receive is €178,58 a month (from January to August 2021) and €180,67 (from September to December 2021).

Student travel product

Last but not least, one of the components of student finance is the student travel product. With this travel product, in the form of a personal OV chip card, you can travel for free in Dutch public transport (or with a discount). This depends on your subscription: you can choose to travel for free during the week or the weekends. This can be changed later on if desired. To clear up the subscriptions and (free) travel days, you can check all the details in this handy table of travel days.

From the date you are eligible for student finance and applied for it, you’ve automatically applied for a student travel product as well. You’ll get a welcome letter 6 weeks before activation from Afterwards, you’ll need to connect your student travel product to your personal OV Chip card (OV-chipkaart). How to do this will be completely explained in the welcome letter. Last but not least you have to go to a pick-up device to make sure your student travel product is uploaded to your OV-chip card. And you’re ready to go!

The student travel product is a loan (€99,58 a month in 2021) unless you finish your studies within 10 years. In that case, the student travel product will be changed into a gift from the Dutch government. Using the student travel product for that reason is optional. Once you are not eligible anymore for the student travel product, you are responsible for the timely cancellation. If you don’t, you risk a fine of up to €300,-.