Searching for student’s heaven on earth

Who gets what from which country?


Which country takes really good care of its students? Is it the Netherlands, where all students get a basic grant that they don’t have to pay back? Or are you better off in Belgium, or maybe the United Kingdom or India? Observant tried to find the facts and figures of the studiefinanciering of seven of Maastricht University’s ‘target countries’.

The Netherlands

Regardless the parents’ income, every student gets a basic grant of around €255 a month, with a card for free public transportation in the Netherlands for either the week or the weekend. Students whose parents have a low income get an additional grant of a maximum of around €220. Anyone can take out a loan (for daily living costs and for the tuition fee) which must be paid back with interest when the graduate has found a job.



In India there is no such thing as the Dutch studiefinanciering. Really rich parents pay for their children, and parents who are not so rich save money to enable their youngsters go to a well-known university, be it in India or abroad. Students who don’t have a wealthy background often choose for a university in their homeland with very low tuition fees (e.g. €50). If they want to go to Europe or to the United States they need a scholarship. “They are extremely limited and highly competitive”, says Indian master’s student Krishnamani Jayaraman. To get an Indian scholarship you have to have excellent grades and show that you don’t have enough money of your own.



German students can apply for a monthly grant of approximately €200 to a maximum of about €600. Whether they will get the grant – and how much they will get – depends on their parents’ income and their housing conditions (living alone, in their parents’ home, in Germany or abroad). After graduation, they must pay back 50% of the total grant. More info:

All students can also approach the bank for a loan, and Germany offers a lot of scholarships. See



Poland doesn’t have a scheme like the Dutch studiefinanciering. However, there are some scholarships that are granted by the government: ‘social scholarships’ for students in weak economic situations; ‘science scholarships’ for excellent students; scholarships for very good athletes, and scholarships for young people who have to deal with a disability.



Every Turkish student who studies at a public university in Turkey gets a grant of €100 a month from the government, says Turkish student Ezgi Bagdadioglu. “After graduation you have to pay back the total amount.” Most families support their children and a lot of students take a job. If parents can’t support their child because of economic issues, the student can apply for a scholarship. The housing on campus “is generally very cheap”. Students who choose to go to a private university can apply for a scholarship – but you have to be very talented to get one. Students who go abroad don’t get anything from the government.


United Kingdom

Loans are the main source of income for the majority of students. UK students are offered a tuition fee loan (up to £3,290 for 2010/11) or a maintenance loan (worth up to £4,950 if you live away from home, or more if you study in London). Students must then repay the loan once they graduate (or quit) and are earning £15,000 per year. Interest on the loan is linked to inflation in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) and is currently set at 2%. The average student walks away with a debt in the range of £15,000–£30,000, depending on where they study.



Only the best students can get a study grant from the government. Usually the parents support their child through university. People from very poor families can get an interest-free loan from the government. The tuition fees in the major Chinese universities range from 10,000 to 20,000 yuan, which is about €1,000 to €2,000.



Only students whose parents have a very low income can get a study grant, which amounts to €3,000 a year. In general, parents will pay for their children’s studies. They are entitled to ‘child money’ until their children are 25. The tuition fees in Belgium are low; €500 a year.



Dutch study grant for students in European Economic Area

Students in the European Economic Area can apply for a Dutch study grant if they work in the Netherlands for at least 32 hours a month. You then get a ‘basic study grant’ of €255 a month, as well as a card for free public transportation in the Netherlands for either the week or the weekend. Depending on the income of your parents, you can also apply for an additional grant. On top of this, it's also possible to apply for a study loan from the Dutch government. More detailed information is available at

Tuition Fee

Students from these EEA-countries, including Switzerland and Surinam, pay a tuition fee of €1,672 (bachelor’s and master’s). Students from other countries, like Turkey and India, have to pay a tuition fee of €8,500 for a UM- bachelor’s programme and €12,000 for a UM-master’s programme.

To find out more country-specific information, go to There you can also find the email adresses of students from different countries who can help you.


Cleo Freriks and Riki Janssen

Searching for student’s heaven on earth
Archief Observant

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