News - September 1, 2011

The joys and sorrows of student life

Studying costs money. Increasing amounts of money. For most students it's a question of 'I always have some month left at the end of my money'. How will you manage when the basic grant turns into a loan for the Master's and the tardy student scheme claims its first victims? How much student debt do you want to be saddled with later?

Job on the side
You can work behind the bar or at the till. Students' gross earnings from part-time jobs, mostly in bars, restaurants and shops, average between five and six thousand euros a year. You can apply for a refund of any excess tax deductions using a Tj form. If you work a lot you can temporarily stop your student loan and public transport pass once your gross earnings exceed the threshold of 13,215.83 euros.

Rent for accommodation
Although Wageningen has a shortage of accommodation, it is at least relatively cheap. You can get something for an average rent of 260 euros per month in Wageningen and ten euros more in Leeuwarden. Use to check you are not paying too much for your cubbyhole and see whether you can get a rent rebate.

Tardy student fine
The Halbe levy is a 3,000 euro fine on top of the tuition fees, payable if students get behind by more than a year with their  Bachelor's or Master's. The tardy student fine comes into effect on 1 September 2012. Only students who are ill or disabled can request an extension. There is no leniency for people who chose the wrong course, did an internship abroad or served on a committee.

Second Master's
As of this academic year, universities can set higher tuition fees for a second Master's, except for degrees in healthcare or education. You will then pay 8,925 euros for a second Master's unless you do them simultaneously. So you'll need to plan properly!

Two-year Master's
The cabinet wants to abolish the basic grant for Master's students as of 1 September 2012. They will have to take out a loan instead. The National Students Association (ISO) calculated that the two-year Master's programmes Wageningen runs would increase debt by an average of 5,600 euros.

Student debt
Research by Nibud showed that nearly half of all students borrow an average of 400 euros per month. A student borrowing for four years will accumulate debts of at least 15,360 euros excluding interest. After next year, even someone who finishes on schedule and doesn't borrow much will soon run up a debt of 20,000 euros for the two-year Master's.
Debts increase sharply if you get behind in the Master's phase, as the basic grant will be a loan and you will be faced with the 3,000 euro tardy student fine. Taking a year longer will cost you €13,200 extra on average, says ISO.
To give you an idea: repayments on a student debt of 35,000 euros are between 169 and 214 euros per month (depending on interest rates) for twenty years. You can use and to work it out. Fortunately, your student debt is not taken into account when taking out a mortgage, but it might still be a good idea to mention it as otherwise your monthly overheads could be substantial. And you will have had enough of penny-pinching in your student days.
If you are 18 or older, have a Dutch health insurer and an annual income of less than 33,347 euros you are probably eligible for a healthcare allowance. You can apply via the tax authority website. This allowance can be up to 70 euros a month.
Course books
Go second-hand! Buy used books through your student society.
Groceries etc.
Supermarkets often give discounts on products just before closing. Alternatively, plunder the refuse bins next to the supermarket for food past its sell-by date. This is called 'bin diving' and if you do it to prevent food going to waste you are a 'freegan'. Of course it's a bonus that the food is free.
A student's accounts

€266.23 basic grant if not living at home
€242.76 supplementary grant or parental contribution
€200 loan from DUO
€250 job on the side
€60 healthcare allowance
__________________________________________ +

€260 rent for accommodation
€143 tuition fees
€37 course books
€91 insurance
€231 groceries etc.
€100 leisure, entertainment and sport
€100 telephone, transport (not public) and clothing
__________________________________________ -
- €962

Possible extra items in the future
- Tardy student fine
- Second Master's
- Paying off student debt