Financing of training

You can arrange the financing of your training in various ways. The possibilities are dependent on your situation, your age and what you are going to do: a recognised associate degree, Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree, or would you like to do a further training or refresher course. There are schemes from the government and there are private funds. If you have an employer, you may be entitled to a training budget.

Via Education Executive Agency (DUO)

Student finance
You can apply for student finance if you are going to do a recognised full-time or work-study degree programme at a university of applied sciences (hbo) or university lasting at least one year or longer, or a pre-vocational learning pathway programme (bol-opleiding) at senior secondary vocational education (mbo) level. You must be a Dutch national or have the same rights, depending on your residence permit or your nationality. From september 2023 on  the student finance consists of a basic grant, a student travel product, a supplementary grant, a loan and a tuition fee loan. The right to a supplementary grant is dependent on your parents’ income. The basic grant, student travel product and supplementary grant are non-repayable, if you obtain your degree within 10 years.

Lifelong learning credit
Would you like to do a recognised full-time, part-time or work-study degree programme at a university of applied sciences (hbo) or university, or a pre-vocational learning pathway programme (bol-opleiding) at senior secondary vocational education (mbo) level, but you are no longer entitled to student finance. In that case, you may be eligible, under certain conditions, for a ‘lifelong learning credit’ loan amounting to the tuition fees.

Via your employer

If you are in salaried employment, agreements can be made about training in the fringe benefits or the collective labour agreement (cao). These often deal with a training budget and the number of hours that you can spend on this (during working hours). If nothing is laid down about training rights, but it does have added value for your performance, you can enter into discussion about this.

Your employer can approach a social fund to pay for the training. Think of the Social Fund Performing Arts. A social fund aims to increase the professionalism and resilience of the sector through training.

STAP budget (expired)

STAP stands for Stimulering Arbeidsmarkt Positie (Stimulation of the Labour Market Position). The aim of this scheme was to ensure people remain as employable as possible in the labour market with the aid of a training programme, course or study programme. In this way, ‘Lifelong development’ became more affordable through further training or retraining. You could apply for a STAP budget of maximum € 1,000 for certain forms of training and development.

Up until 1 January 2022, it was possible to deduct training costs in the income tax return. The STAP budget replaced this tax deduction for training costs.

Deducting of training costs as a self-employed professional

If you work as a self-employed professional, you can claim all occupation-related training costs as business expenses. If the training is intended for a new direction and is not therefore related to your occupation, you may not include this in your business records.

Grants and loans

Werktuig PPO: fund for the cultural sector
Professional development is necessary in order to improve the labour market in the cultural and creative sector. Platform Labour Market Cultural and Creative Future (Platform Arbeidsmarkt Culturele en Creatieve Toekomst, Platform ACCT) has set up the fund Werktuig PPO for this with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. This fund finances development plans for anyone working in the creative or cultural sector. It is for both employees and self-employed people. The idea is that the total costs of the development plan are divided equally between three parties: your employer or client, yourself and the PPO fund. There is a maximum contribution of €2,000 per year.

More funds
Various large and small funds make study grants, loans and donations available for various target groups and studies. For example, there are the VSB Fund Scholarship (VSBfonds Beurs) and Cultural Fund Scholarship (Cultuurfondsbeurs) for follow-up studies abroad, while the Bekker-la Bastide-Fonds supports students who are doing a full-time study in Amsterdam or Rotterdam. The Fundatie van Renswoude, the Schuurman Schimmel - van Outeren Stichting and Stichting de Korinthiërs all support students younger than 30 years old, while Talent Support supports students older than 30. the Tesselschade Study Fund (Tesselschade Studiefonds) only supports women. The Hendrik Muller Fund (Hendrik Muller Fonds) provides study scholarships and supports cultural causes.

Some funds focus on certain disciplines: the VandenEnde Foundation focuses on young talents in theatre, dance, music, film and television. The Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund (Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds) manages various donor-advised funds, a number of which also support studies, such as the Burger-Dominicus Fund (Burger-Dominicus Fonds) for dancers and the Sonate Fund (Sonate Fonds) for classical music. Stichting NHBos has scholarships for landscape architecture students, the EFL Stichting contributes to study trips for architecture students, research and publications. Foundation A.F.V.O.M.S. (Algemeen Fonds voor Onbemiddelde Muziekstudenten, General Fund for Music Students Without Means) gives donations to conservatory students. The Willem Mengelberg Fund to conservatory students who are following a master's programme. The Academy of Theatre and Dance has the Hanny Veldkamp Fund (Hanny Veldkamp Fonds) and Jan Kassies Fund (Jan Kassies Fonds) for talented students. The Institut Français Pays-Bas awards two Art & Design scholarships annually to students in Dutch higher education who want to get a master's degree in France.

Crowdfunding is also used increasingly often to finance a follow-up study. In addition, parents are allowed to donate a higher amount tax-free for your training or study programme under certain conditions.

Allowances for teacher training

Would you like to do a training to become a teacher? If so, please check with the Education Executive Agency (DUO) if you are eligible for certain allowances or grants intended for (prospective) teachers. If you are already a qualified teacher and you would like to continue studying, you may be eligible for the teacher scholarship.

Affordable training

Because it is so important that you continue developing yourself, there are an increasing number of options to receive further training for free or for a small amount: in that case you mainly invest your time. For example, via the programme NL leert door (NL keeps on learning) and other independent providers such as the AHK, who offers refresher courses in the field of entrepreneurship at low rates.

Directly to:

Life long learning