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. Since the introduction of the student loan system in 2015, student finance consists of a loan, a student travel product, a supplementary grant and a tuition fee loan. The right to a supplementary grant is dependent on your parents’ income. Only the student travel product and the 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. If you make use of this, you will probably be eligible for tax relief.

Study voucher
Did you first receive student finance in the period September 2015 to August 2019, and did you then fall under the student loan system? In that case, you will receive a study voucher after obtaining your degree, which you can use for a further education at a Dutch or foreign study programme in higher education.

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.

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 your 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 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. Examine whether you meet the conditions.

Tax deduction for study costs

You can deduct your study costs if you are not entitled to student finance from DUO and the study costs that you pay yourself are higher than €250. If you are receiving a reimbursement from your employer or a fund, you deduct this from that. Look on the site of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) to see which costs you are allowed to include in this.

As a self-employed person
If you work as a self-employed person, you can claim all professional training costs as business expenses. If the training is intended for a new direction and is not therefore related to your job, you may not claim this in your business administration, although you may be able to claim it as private deducible expenditure, as described above.

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.

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Life long learning