How does studying in the Netherlands work?

After elementary school and high school, you can continue with your studies. Depending on your level, you can go to the MBO, HBO or to university. How does this work?

Senior vocational education

The senior vocational education (abbreviated as mbo) consists of four levels. 
•    Level 1: assistant professional worker
•    Level 2: employee / basic professional worker
•    Level 3: independent employee / independent professional worker / professional training
•    Level 4: middle management functionary/ specialized professional practitioner 

•    For Level 1 an entry without thresholds is in place;
•    For Level 2 a minimum of a vmbo-diploma (Basic vocational program) is needed. 
•    For Levels 3 en 4 is a minimum of a vmbo-diploma (Middle management-orientated learning path, Mixed learning path or Theoretical learning path) or proof of transfer from havo/vwo 3 to have/vwo 4 is needed; 
•    with a havo or vwo diploma, the student may then follow the faster course.

Higher vocational education
The hbo consists of two parts. A bachelor takes four years and a masters takes an extra year or two. HBO-educations are given at schools for advanced education. In order to be able to study at a school for advanced education, students must be in the possession of a minimum of a pre-havo, vwo or mbo level 4. In some cases there may be additional requirements.
At some schools for advanced education, there is a so-called 21+ regulation. This requires that students of 21 and older need not to have the pre-educational demands. By way of an admittance examination, they can still gain entry to a school for advanced education. 

Scientific education
With a vwo diploma or a hbo first-year transcript, someone may be admitted to scientific education. This is the highest level and you will then be studying at a university. The university consists of two parts: a bachelor and a master program. The courses of study focusses both on the theoretical knowledge as on the development of investigative skills.

Student financial aid
All students under the age of 30 can apply for student financial aid. This is also true for non-Dutch citizens with a residency permit type II, III, IV or V. Your student financial aid is a loan that you will have to repay after your studies are completed.
 
Mbo
Student financial aid for mbo consists of 4 parts: a basic study grant, a supplemental study grant, a loan and a student travel product. The basic study grant and the student travel product are for everyone. An additional grant or loan must be requested separately. 

Hbo and university
Student financial aid for hbo and university consists of 4 parts: loans, student travel product, additional grants and college funding credit. Loans, travel product and college funding credit are for everyone. The additional grant depends on your parent’s income. Only the student travel product and the additional grant can be a gift. You must then receive your diploma within 10 years, counting from the first month of receiving student financial aid.

 

Higher vocational education

The hbo consists of two parts. A bachelor takes four years and a masters takes an extra year or two. HBO-educations are given at schools for advanced education. In order to be able to study at a school for advanced education, students must be in the possession of a minimum of a pre-havo, vwo or mbo level 4. In some cases there may be additional requirements.
At some schools for advanced education, there is a so-called 21+ regulation. This requires that students of 21 and older need not to have the pre-educational demands. By way of an admittance examination, they can still gain entry to a school for advanced education. 

Scientific education

With a vwo diploma or a hbo first-year transcript, someone may be admitted to scientific education. This is the highest level and you will then be studying at a university. The university consists of two parts: a bachelor and a master program. The courses of study focusses both on the theoretical knowledge as on the development of investigative skills.

Student financial aid

All students under the age of 30 can apply for student financial aid. This is also true for non-Dutch citizens with a residency permit type II, III, IV or V. Your student financial aid is a loan that you will have to repay after your studies are completed.
 
Mbo
Student financial aid for mbo consists of 4 parts: a basic study grant, a supplemental study grant, a loan and a student travel product. The basic study grant and the student travel product are for everyone. An additional grant or loan must be requested separately. 

Hbo and university
Student financial aid for hbo and university consists of 4 parts: loans, student travel product, additional grants and college funding credit. Loans, travel product and college funding credit are for everyone. The additional grant depends on your parent’s income. Only the student travel product and the additional grant can be a gift. You must then receive your diploma within 10 years, counting from the first month of receiving student financial aid.