More European students could benefit from Dutch student loans


The Dutch Education Executive Agency (DUO) will allow more personalization for EU students applying for student loans and will therefore be less likely to have them automatically rejected, a DUO spokesperson said. at NSA. According to the broadcaster, EU students are increasingly winning lawsuits against DUO because of the agency’s overly strict requirements for what it considers part-time work.

EU students who have a part-time job in the Netherlands can apply for student funding here as they are then considered employees. The EU considers it important that employees of the same Member State have the same rights. European law does not specify the number of hours that constitutes part-time work, but DUO has set it at 56 hours per month on its website.

“You see a lot of students are now thinking ahead: I’m not eligible for this. So I’m not even going to apply,” lawyer Jillian van Damme, who has led several successful lawsuits, told NOS. DUO on this point. “Students who do and then get rejected for not meeting the 56-hour standard often leave it at that. And for students who continue to challenge that, it often takes six months to a year before they get their due. “

Meanwhile, students face financial hardship, concentration problems and other mental health issues due to the stress of money and legal proceedings, and sometimes have to go home because they don’t. can’t afford to stay in the Netherlands.

According to Van Damme, all this is completely unnecessary because the 56-hour standard is not included in European legislation. “In the stops, we quickly see that you are well from 40 hours a month.” Lawyer Patrick Folsche, who also won lawsuits against DUO, would even risk it from 32 hours a month, he told the broadcaster.

DUO told NOS it will take a closer look at whether someone who works less than 56 hours still qualifies for student funding. And it will be more transparent on its website that students can get funding even if they work less than 56 hours a month.

According to DUO, around 6,000 EU students received scholarships in the Netherlands last year. This represents approximately 7% of the total number of European students studying here. The agency could not estimate what a more lenient approach to lending would mean for these numbers.

PvdA parliamentarian Habtamu de Hoop said it was good that DUO made exceptions to its 56-hour norm more often. “It’s positive for the mental well-being of international students,” De Hoop said, but added that it shouldn’t come at the expense of Dutch students. “So I asked if the minister had mapped the costs and consequences of a possible influx.”

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