Students from the Caribbean region of the Kingdom, who go to study at a college or university in the Netherlands, will once again receive a basic grant as of September. There was broad support in the Senate today for a legislative proposal that aims to reintroduce the basic grant for higher education. As of Monday, the 19th of June, eligible students will be able to request a basic grant from DUO.
Minister Dijkgraaf: “The return of the basic grant for college and university students represents a major improvement in the financial position of students. It creates opportunities and establishes a stable foundation. And, together with a more generous supplementary grant, a fixed amount per month helps to give students a certain amount of financial breathing space. The other important thing about this legislative proposal is that the repayment procedure for MBO (senior secondary professional education) students have been brought in line with that of college and university students. This also applies to the additional earnings threshold. This will help to create a more equal footing for MBO students.”
Requesting a basic grant
Students can request the basic grant by submitting an application to DUO, which has been working hard to facilitate the reintroduction of the grant. All (prospective) students who are eligible for the basic grant will be contacted personally by DUO. In addition, the following applies to Caribbean students:
- Students who are already in the Netherlands and have a citizen service number (BSN) and a DigiD, can apply for a basic grant via Mijn DUO as of the 19th of June.
- Prospective students who are still in the Caribbean region and have already requested study financing can also request the basic grant via the form titled ‘Requesting basic grant for higher education students from the Caribbean region’. This form will be sent to them this week via e-mail.
- Prospective students who are still in the Caribbean region and have not already requested study financing can also request the basic grant and other study financing options via the form titled ‘Requesting study financing for higher education students from the Caribbean region’. This form can be downloaded at duo.nl/antillen.
HBO (college) and WO (university) students are entitled to a basic grant if they will be studying for the first time in academic year 2023-2024 or if they will still be entitled to study financing at that moment via a performance-based grant. Students that live away from home will receive €274.90 per month; students that live at home will receive €110.30. In the academic year 2023-2024, this will be supplemented – for a period of one year – for all students that live away from home (also MBO students) by a further €164.30 per month due to the high rate of inflation for food and energy costs. As a result, students that do not live at home will receive a basic grant of almost €440 in September, which amounts to over €5,200 for the academic year 2023-2024.
Increase supplementary grant
The basic grant is not the only source of income for students. Other sources include, for example, a part-time job, a care allowance, a rental allowance, parental contributions or a loan from DUO. For extra financial support, students from low and average-income families can apply for a supplementary grant. The income threshold for parents is being extended to at least €70,000, so that more students will be entitled to request the supplementary grant. This will help to improve equal opportunities in the education system. As of September, the maximum supplementary grant will amount to €416 euros per month.
Equal conditions for repaying student loans
Besides reintroducing the basic grant, minister Dijkgraaf has also made sure that procedures for MBO, HBO and WO students are the same when repaying student loans. This means there will be greater equality between the respective study choices. At this moment in time, the procedures still differ for MBO (and higher education students under the old basic grant system) on the one hand, and HBO and WO students on the other: there are different repayment periods (15 years and 35 years respectively) and different calculations for interest. The uniform procedure will automatically apply to new MBO students. Existing MBO students (who will also receive study financing from 1 August) will be able to choose between the old and the new system. MBO students that do not make this choice will automatically switch to the 35-year repayment period. The repayment period will not change for higher education students.
The reintroduction of the basic grant signals the end of the social loan system. As a gesture of goodwill, a compensation is being offered to students who have spent one or more years studying under the loan system. This will amount to €1,436 per student for a (nominal) study period of 4 years. This compensation will also be offered to students who have not received study financing. In addition, circa 375,000 students that studied from 2015/16 to 2018/19 will receive an extra compensation of around €1,835 to replace the study advance voucher (studievoorschotvoucher). This will be paid out or deducted from study-related debts.