What does studying cost?
Studying may cost more than you think. On the one hand, you have costs for study materials. On the other hand, student life itself eats up a fair amount of money: rent for your room, food and drinks, going out and insurances. Keep in mind additional costs, such as your membership to an association, a subscription for internet and TV or extra books.
Make a student budget plan
Are you already studying and want to get a better handle on your income and expenses? Or are you going to be studying soon and want to know where you stand? Then make a student budget plan. You can use the Excelsheet (in Dutch) of the Nibud (National Institute for Budget Information).
On the website of the Nibud (in Dutch) you can read more about the costs of studying and get saving tips.
Don't leave money lying around
In addition to student finance and the financial funds that UM and others make available to students, there are other financial schemes at other institutions that you as a student may be eligible for. Think of rent allowance, healthcare allowance, childcare allowance or tax reclaim. Whether you are entitled hereto depends on your personal circumstances. On berekenuwrecht.nl (in Dutch) from Nibud you can check within 10 minutes what you are entitled to and they explain how you can apply for benefits. You can also check whether the municipality where you are registered offers any (additional) allowances, such as study allowance for students with a disability or energy allowance.
Study allowance: if you have a disability and are therefore unable to earn additional income alongside your studies, you may, in some cases be eligible for a study allowance through the municipality in which you are registered. For the municipality of Maastricht, for example, you can find more information on the website of Sociale Zaken Maastricht Heuvelland (in Dutch).
Energy allowance: although the government excludes students for the time being for the energy allowance, there are a number of municipalities, including Maastricht, Heerlen and Sittard-Geleen, where students can nevertheless qualify for energy allowance under certain conditions.
As of 16 January 2023, the municipality of Maastricht has a separate scheme for students: the ‘Energy cost allowance 2022/2023 for students' (Tegemoetkoming energiekosten voor studenten 2022/2023). This scheme will run until 1 July 2023. It consists of an allowance of a maximum of €1,300 for students aged 21 and older who have money problems due to energy costs. The further conditions are:
- the student must have been enrolled in the programme at UM for at least 6 months;
- the student lives in a self-contained living space (with its own kitchen, bathroom and toilet. Room rent does not qualify);
- the student is registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP) of the municipality of Maastricht;
- the energy contract is in the student’s name or a document must be provided showing that the student pays monthly energy costs to the landlord;
- the student's income is less than 120% of the social assistance standard (bijstandsnorm), which also includes the maximum loan amount from DUO. It does not matter whether this amount is actually borrowed.
The conditions of this scheme, additional explanation and the digital application form can be found on the website of Sociale Zaken Maastricht Heuvelland.
Students living in Maastricht who are between the ages of 18 and 20 and are therefore not eligible for the ‘Energy cost allowance 2022/2023 for students’ may be eligible for one-off assistance via the Energy Cost Emergency Fund. In addition to having an energy contract in their own name, they must also be able to demonstrate that:
- their parents cannot meet their statutory maintenance obligation;
- the monthly energy costs in the period March 2022 – March 2023 have increased by € 100 (self-contained living space) or € 50 (room rent);
- their own assets do not exceed the asset limit for social assistance (vermogensgrens).
For all (strict) conditions, see the website of the Energy Cost Emergency Fund. The digital application form is also available on this page.
The amount of the one-off allowance from the Energy Cost Emergency Fund depends on personal circumstances and amounts to a maximum of € 325 for room rental and € 650 for a single person with independent accommodation. This scheme also runs until 1 July 2023. Applications will be processed in order of receipt and if the budget ceiling of the scheme has been reached, the remaining applications will be rejected.
In addition, students may be eligible for the Temporary Emergency Energy Fund (Tijdelijk Noodfonds Energie). From this Emergency Fund, part of the energy bill can be paid for households with high-energy bills and low income. The period for which support can be awarded is from October 2022 through March 2023.
Eligibility requirements for assistance from the Temporary Emergency Energy Fund include amongst others:
- occupy independent living quarters;
- have your own gas, electricity and/or district heating contract with an energy supplier;
- have an income of no more than 200% of the social minimum. This means that the gross monthly income is lower than € 2,980 (single person) or € 3,794 (couple). The amounts include 8% vacation pay;
- the bill for gas and electricity is higher than 10 to 13 percent of the gross income.
It does not matter which energy supplier a household has.
The conditions of this scheme and additional explanation can be found on the website of the Temporary Emergency Energy Fund (Tijdelijk Noodfonds Energie). Applications can also be submitted via this website.
Do you live in a municipality where you cannot claim energy allowance as a student? Then you are free to apply for the energy allowance anyway and object if the application is rejected. The court will then decide whether the municipality may exclude you as a student for the energy allowance. There are already rulings that have ruled in favor of students. You can find more information on the website of the National Student Union (LSVB) (in Dutch).
Individual special support: if, for example, you find yourself in a dire situation due to increased energy costs, you may be able to apply to your municipality for individual special support. To qualify for special support, however, you must meet a number of conditions: When am I entitled to special support | Rijksoverheid.nl (in Dutch).
Do you have money problems, are you behind with payments or do you have no overview of your financial situation, discuss your problems and find help on time. There are several organisations where you can get help free of charge, sometimes anonymously. For example, you can get advice anonymously at geldfit.nl (in Dutch). There are also volunteers who can help you, such as Schuldhulpmaatje (in Dutch), Humanitas and the Landelijk Stimuleringsnetwerk Thuisadministratie (LSTA) (in Dutch).
Do you live in Maastricht? Then the website of Maastricht Helpt (in Dutch) gives an overview of the help available in the municipality. You can also turn to Trajekt (in Dutch) for support. There are also apps, such as FiKKs (in Dutch) and Geldwijzer Maastricht (in Dutch), for advice and tips.
If there is a risk of you falling behind with your rent or health insurance payments, contact your landlord or health insurer to discuss whether you can come to a solution by mutual agreement. It may be possible to agree on a payment arrangement. It is important to make agreements that you can and will actually keep. If you doubt whether the rent you have to pay for your accommodation is correct, contact Huurteam Zuid-Limburg. They can help you calculate the maximum rental price for your accommodation on the basis of a legally defined point system.
If you have serious financial problems or debts, contact your municipality as soon as possible. The sooner you ask for help, the better, because that way you can prevent problems from piling up. For more information about debt assistance offered by the municipality of Maastricht, go to: gemeentemaastricht.nl/werk-en-inkomen/schuldhulpverlening (in Dutch). Or check the website of your own municipality if you do not live in Maastricht.
Are you unable to pay special, necessary expenses? For example due to increased energy costs? Then you may qualify for individual special support. This is also regulated by the municipality where you are registered. The conditions and implementation of individual special support vary by municipality. For the municipality of Maastricht, please visit: gemeentemaastricht.nl/werk-en-inkomen/bijzondere-bijstand (in Dutch).
Financial problems can be very stressful and negatively affect your studies. Are you threatening to delay your studies? Please contact your study adviser as soon as possible. You can also contact the Student Deans if you have questions about UM (financial) regulations.
The information on this page has been compiled with the utmost care, but not all students may be eligible for the possibilities mentioned above, as this depends on specific (personal) circumstances.