‘Trick’ of unlucky students to limit debt now that basic grant is coming

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So-called ‘unlucky students’ who have started studying under the student loan system can use a ‘trick’ to benefit longer from the basic grant, which will most likely be reintroduced next academic year. Students share this skill on social media and among themselves, which they can use to limit the damage caused by the student loan system. These are students who are experiencing study delays or who are taking longer to complete their studies, for example because they are taking extra courses.

It works like this: students will soon be entitled to a basic grant for the duration of their studies. If you study for four years, you can therefore receive a basic grant for four years. If you are already studying and you still have one year to go per academic year 2023/2024, you are only entitled to one year of the basic grant.

Suppose you already know that your studies will take three months longer than that one year. In that case, you are in principle no longer entitled to the basic grant for the last three months. But you can also now stop your student finance, including public transport card and any supplementary grant, for three months. And by not making use of that right until next academic year, you will receive the basic grant for one year plus those three months.

The basic grant is a gift if you complete your studies within ten years. It amounts to 274.90 per month for students living away from home and 110.30 for those living at home. So the financial advantage of a scholarship later, instead of a loan now, can increase considerably.

Support parents or savings

Since last week, the DUO site has published a news item explaining how this works. It does seem, however, that especially the unlucky student with a financial buffer or parents who help out benefit from the trick. Because you have to get through a few months without a student grant.

This means that I make about 270 euros a month in profit, which amounts to about 1500 euros in total.

Dan Hermanns

One of them is Groningen International Business student Daan Hermanns. He counts on a benefit of about 1500 euros. He has temporarily stopped his public transport and he did not borrow. “For the 2024-2025 academic year, I wouldn’t actually get anything. Now I get an extra 7 to 8 months of basic grant.”

Not all students with a study delay can benefit from this trick. “I have friends who can’t do it because they won’t make it financially. You do need your parents’ financial support,” says Hermanns. “I can say before the summer: Hey mom and dad, can I apply for a loan from you before the holidays?”

This is not the only trick students use to improve their financial situation. In January there was already the “interest trick”, whereby students could secure part of their student loan at the then relatively low interest rate. Here too, students had to cancel their loan and public transport, but this was only for a month.


These kinds of ways to ‘earn’ money mainly spread through student blogs, social media and verbally. “When I found out that this was possible, I told housemates and friends. I know that many people are now considering doing it too,” says David Suurland, Food Technology student in Wageningen.

Emma Mouthaan gives students tips on finances on social media. “There is a lot of uncertainty and there is no place where you can easily find an overview of all the information. Students ask about the basic grant and whether it is interesting to put everything on hold for a while.”

Not for everyone

DUO says it does not know how many students do this to save money. According to the National Student Union (LSVB), these kinds of tricks are not possible for everyone. “Not many students can bridge several months without student finance. Most students are already very tight financially,” says LSVB chairman Joram van Velzen.

Emma Mouthaan sees that too. “Students who are less well off financially cannot use it, while they would benefit much more from extra months of basic grant.” It is also not always advantageous for students with a supplementary grant, says DUO.

Blame the bad luck generation
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