Foreign student

Particulier Foreign student Lifelong learning credit

Lifelong learning credit

Borrowing for tuition and study fees

Are you enrolled in a study programme, but are you not or no longer eligible for regular student finance (loan, supplementary grant and/or student travel product)? If so, you can borrow money to pay your tuition fees or course fees, under certain conditions. This is called "lifelong learning credit".


You have to meet all of the following conditions:

  • You are either a full-time, dual or part-time student at higher vocational education (HBO) or university. Or you are a full-time BOL-student at secondary vocational education (MBO). Your study programme must be officially recognised in The Netherlands.
  • You have Dutch nationality.
    If your nationality is not Dutch, you can still receive lifelong learning credit if you have a residence permit type II, III, IV or V. Do you have a residence permit type I? Complete the nationality chart to check whether you can receive credit. Do you come from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland? Then you are eligible as well.
  • You are not or are no longer eligible to receive regular student finance.
  • You are 30, or older. Are you under 30? Then you are only entitled to the credit if 1 one the following situations applies:
    1. You already have an HBO bachelor's degree, or a university master's degree, and you are following a 2nd study programme at HBO or university.
    2. You are following a part-time study programme at HBO or university.
  • You are younger than 55 when the lifelong learning credit takes effect.
  • Your tuition fees are not being paid or reimbursed in full by any other authority or person, for example your employer or your parent(s). Is someone else paying part of the tuition fees or programme fees? If so, you can apply for lifelong learning credit for the remainder of your tuition fees.

This arrangement has gone into effect on 1 August 2017 for secondary vocational education (MBO), and on 1 September 2017 for higher vocational education (HBO) and university.

How to apply

Logging in from abroad

With a DigiD you can also log in to Mijn DUO outside the Netherlands. If you cannot log in, use the form Applying or making changes lifelong learning credit. If you study at the Open University, use the form Applying lifelong learning credit for Open Universiteit.

For how long can you borrow?

You can receive the credit for the nominal duration of your course. For most courses, this is 4 years. If you are following a part-time course at an HBO or a university, you will be allotted 1 additional year.

How much can you borrow?

You can borrow no more than the amount of tuition fees or programme fees you are due. For any amount over € 2,006 (HBO and university) or € 1,137 (MBO), you will need to provide a statement from the educational institution, showing what your tuition fees or programme fees amount to. The maximum amount is € 10,030.20 per year for HBO or university, and € 5,685 for MBO.


The lifelong learning credit is paid at the end of each month. Each month you will receive 1/12th of the amount of tuition fees or programme fees you are due that year.
If you study at the Open Universiteit, the number of monthly payments is determined by dividing the amount of study credits (ECTS) per course (onderwijseenheid) by 5. For example, if you do a 15 ECTS course, you will receive the lifelong learning credit in 3 monthly payments.


You start paying back the year after you are no longer eligible for lifelong learning credit. Exactly when you are due to start paying back is determined by the date you withdraw from your school or university. If you withdraw between 1 January and 31 August, you will start paying back on 1 January. If you withdraw after 31 August, repayments start 4 months after your withdrawal. There is a 15 years period for paying back the loan with interest. Interest starts being added to your loan the month after you get your first payment. The interest rate changes annually. In 2017 and 2018, the annual interest rate is 0%. After your studies, the interest rate is fixed for periods of 5 years.

The amount of your monthly repayments depend on your earnings. Part of your yearly income is excluded from the calculation (exempted income). If you have no children, € 16,597 of your annual income is exempted. For families and single parents this amount is € 23,710. You are due to repay 12% of your remaining income per year, in 12 monthly instalments. After 15 years, any remaining debt will be cancelled.

Do you already have a student loan with DUO? The lifelong learning credit will not be added to your loan because different repayment plans apply. This does not mean that you are due to pay 2 monthly instalments. First we will calculate the amount that you are due for both loans separately. The highest of these amounts is your monthly instalment. This monthly amount will be used to cover both loans.

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