what is duo?
DUO is a governmental organisation which provides student finance for mostly Dutch and EU/EFA/Swiss students of higher education during their studies. It compromises 4 components, which partly must be paid back after finishing the programme. Internationals can only get DUO finance if they meet certain requirements, which will be part of the following blog post.
What are the 4 financed components?
First, a regular loan, which has to be paid back, but without any interest charges. That means that the student has to only pay the exact amount of money back they borrowed from the state before. Use the calculator on the duo.nl website to see how much loan you can get.
Second, a student travel product, which means free travels on weekdays OR on the weekends. The subscription can be changed later. In 2022 the loan for traveling is 104.22€ per month. It is converted into a gift for students who graduate within 10 years. If you won’t graduate it will stay a loan.
Third, a supplementary grant is possible in your first 4 years of studying. The eligibility depends on your parents’ income. The first 5 months receiving this grant is a gift. It completely converts into a gift if the diploma is gained within 10 years.
Fourth, students can get a loan to cover their tuition fees. The tuition fee loan also has to be paid back.
Eligibility for DUO as an international student
First, you have to be a student in the Netherlands in MBO: school-based learning pathway (BOL), HBO or university: bachelors, masters, or associate degrees. The university you are enrolled at must be officially recognised. The course has to last at least one year, and the financing starts at the start of the month if you apply before the 1st.
Second, you have to be at least 18 as an MBO student and in general not older than 30 when you apply.
Third, as a EU, EFA or Swiss citizen you eligible if you fulfil one of the following requirements:
– You have been living in the Netherlands for at least 5 consecutive years.
– You work for at least 56 hours per month with a legal contract, which equals 14 hours a week. Or you have a monthly income of 50% of the social security norm or higher. If you are younger than 21 the 50% would be 148.25€ per month.
– Your non-Dutch parent or partner has an EU/EFA/Swiss nationality or is/was a migrant worker AND must have worked with the 56-hours or 50% norm rule.
Important to know
You can earn a max of 15,828.77 in additional income. If you exceed it without stopping your student finance and student travel product, you must repay the extra amount you earn above the max amount. That would mean you work for free if you extend the maximum income.
If you, your parent, or partner do/did not fulfil one of the hours or 50% norm mentioned above, you can try to ask for DUO as you can be assessed separately.
You have to be registered in the Netherlands and have a BSN. That is a number you get after registration at a Dutch municipality.
The duo has multiple offices in the Netherlands, one of them in Arnhem. You can make appointments with them on their website or walk in without an appointment between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays.
How to APPLY
You can apply for the student finance on the website of Mijn DUO here. Check which documents you need to apply. Send them under ‘Documentary evidence for EU/EEA citizens, UK citizens and Swiss’. Within 6 to 8 weeks after applying you will receive a letter.
Getting DUO student finance might sound complicated at first, but if you get an overview, it is worth the financial support you can get.
If you are searching for a job, you can read our blog post about mistakes to avoid while searching for work in the Netherlands. You can find out more in our previous blog.
An important add: The above procedure is the one that DUO requires to follow, however we strongly suggest to read this article before starting your application.