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Costs and budget

If you're planning on going abroad it's important to consider financial matters such as tuition fees, other costs, your budget and scholarship applications.

Tuition fees

Via an exchange programme 

The advantage of going abroad via an exchange programme is that you remain registered as a student of Leiden University. This means you only have to pay your Dutch tuition fees, which are generally lower than fees in other countries. Of course all other expenses such as accommodation, books, visas and living expenses are your own responsibility. 

Not via an exchange programme 

If your studies abroad are not arranged via an exchange agreement you generally have to pay tuition fees to the university abroad. This is certainly the case if you choose to follow courses abroad. However if you choose not to follow courses, for example if you will do research, exemptions from tuition fees can sometimes be requested. The situation varies from country to country. In countries where tuition fees are low you generally have a greater chance of an exemption. 

Student finance 

Contact DUO to find out whether you can continue receiving Dutch student finance or be awarded financial compensation for surrendering your student travel pass (OV-kaart) whilst studying abroad.

Other costs

The amount of money you will need during your studies abroad depends on:

  • Your destination
  • If you need to pay tuition fees abroad
  • Visa and residence permit costs – if applicable
  • Travel costs
  • Rent
  • Cost of living (food, drink, clothing)
  • Additional costs such as phone calls, vaccinations
  • Additional health and travel insurances if required
  • Domestic travel costs
  • Whether you will receive a scholarship or grant
  • Whether you will continue receiving Dutch student finance

On the VSB fonds website (in Dutch) you can find handy information about living costs in a range of countries.


Before departure it is a good idea to draw up a budget for your stay abroad. All the costs mentioned above should be taken into consideration. This will provide you with a realistic picture of how much money you will need and whether you should consider requesting a scholarship to help you get by. The Wilweg website provides a lot of useful information about drawing up a budget.

Tips for scholarship applications

Searching for and requesting a suitable scholarship can be hard work. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Each scholarship or grant programme has its own specific conditions. Read these carefully in advance to check whether you are eligible.
  • Start looking into options and making preparations one year before your planned stay abroad.
  • You can find useful information about the additional costs involved in studying abroad on wilweg.nl.
  • Most scholarships and grants do not cover all costs. You may want to consider applying for more than one scholarship.
  • Some scholarships may only be requested once during your academic career. Keep this in mind if you want to go abroad during both your Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes.

Letter of recommendation

For some scholarship applications you will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation issued by Leiden University. You can request this from a Student Counsellor or from your faculty’s International Exchange Coordinator.

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