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Financial support

Funding your studies

At some point, most students in the Netherlands encounter the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs, commonly known as DUO. This organisation is mostly known for providing students with student finance and the student travel product. Depending on residency status, course registration and age, international students can also get funding from DUO. You can find all the information about the requirements and the amounts on DUO’s website for international students.

Other finance options can be found on the website Study in Holland

For US students there are also several loan programmes available:

Direct Loan Programme 

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers financial aid for eligible students from the U.S. to help cover the cost of higher education. Eligible students borrow directly from the ED at participating schools. 

As a foreign school, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has participated in the Direct Loan Program for several years and will continue its participation in the program as an eligible school for the academic year 2022-2023.

US Loans Guide

For more information about US loans please have a look at the US Loans Guide. In this guide you can find detailed information on the following topics:

    - General information about direct loans
    - Applying for financial aid
    - Application procedures
    - Financial information
    - Procedures at VU Amsterdam
    - SAP, brief description
    - Exit counseling
    - In School Deferment Request
    - Refund policy
    - Alcohol and drugs

Questionnaire VU

To start the loan application, please fill out the questionnaire and mail the form to

NB: Vrije Universiteit does not receive any automatic messages from the United States telling us that you have applied or re-applied for a Direct Loan. If you would like to take out a loan, you therefore have to mail us the questionnaire after making your loan application in the FAFSA system. Only then can we start the origination process of the loan on our side.


Deadlines for finalized applications 1st semester:

  • 1 August 2022 - Access to Financial Aid in September
  • 1 September 2022 - Access to Financial Aid in October
  • 1 November 2022 - Access to Financial Aid in December

Deadlines for finalized applications 2nd semester:

  • 1 January 2023 - Access to Financial Aid in February
  • 1 February 2023 - Access to Financial Aid in March
  • 1 April 2023 - Access to Financial Aid in May

Using your loan to pay for tuition fee
If you take out a Federal Direct Loan, you should not pay tuition fee yourself, as the VU will deduct your tuition fee from your loan amount. To do so, you need to complete both your loan application and your enrolment with VU before 20 August.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

All students applying for or receiving US Federal Aid (subsidized, unsubsidized and PLUS) must progress satisfactory towards completion of the study programme at VU Amsterdam to remain eligible for federal financial aid. You can find detailed information in the SAP document.


If you have taken out loans and are considering withdrawing from your program, it may happen that you will have to return (a portion) of the funds. As such, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss the details. For more information on the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) policy please click here.


VU Amsterdam
International Office / US Loan Team
De Boelelaan 1105
NL-1081 HV Amsterdam

For additional information on U.S. federal loans, please visit the Direct Loans website of the U.S. Department of Education.

Salliemae Smart Option Loan 

SallieMae is a loan provider in the US, who offers private loans to US students to cover their costs for their study period abroad. Only students with the American nationality will be eligible for this type of loan. The loan is meant to finance your stay at VU Amsterdam and could cover your tuition fee, room and board, etc.


All degree programmes offered at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Bachelor, Master, LL.M, Research Master).

Application procedure VU

Step 1: Questionnaire VU, to start the loan application, please complete the questionnaire and mail the form to

Step 2: Only if you are (conditionally) admitted to the study programme: send an email to and indicate that you want to apply / have applied for a SallieMae loan so that we can finalize the loan procedure.

Deadlines VU

Deadline for submitting the application for the study programme: 1 April 2022
Deadline for informing the International Office by email of application to SallieMae: 1 July 2022

Application procedure SallieMae

Apply online for the loan:
Our School code for this programme is: 008376-00

Contact person VU: Henny Smit:

Important notes

• Please read the procedure of VU Amsterdam carefully.
• Students are always fully responsible for the repayment of their loans to SallieMae.
• The loan period only covers 1 year, which means that if you are participating in a study programme which takes longer than 1 academic year, you will have to submit a loan application for the following year.
• The loan will be disbursed in 2 terms.
• SallieMae has the final decision on the approval / denial of your loan application. One of the requirements for being granted a residence permit in the Netherlands is that students must submit proof that they have sufficient financial means to finance their study period in the Netherlands. VU advises a budget, not including the tuition fee, of approx. €10,000 to €15,000 per year to cover the costs for rent, insurance, living expenses, course books and local transportation. How much money students actually spend will of course depend on their life style and spending habits
• Private loan applications with Sallie Mae must not exceed 180 days between the application date and disbursement date. Therefore for loan applications for the new academic year (which will normally have an earliest disbursement date of 1 October), do not make an application to Sallie Mae any earlier than 1 May.
• You can expect the first payment in mid- August and the second one in mid- December. Students are therefore strongly advised to have extra funding to cover for their costs for at least the period in August. Also, if you have applied for accommodation via VU, you must pay the rent of three months before you arrive in Amsterdam.
• You are kindly advised to set up an installment agreement for the payment of the tuition fee. For information see:


The student is responsible for submitting a complete application, according to the steps described above before the aforementioned deadline. VU Amsterdam cannot be held responsible for late and/or incomplete applications.