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Refugees who qualify for higher education

If you are a recognized refugee and qualify for higher education in your native country, you may be eligible for a higher education programme in the Netherlands. You pass through a whole procedure, before you can study at a university.

Civic integration programme

As soon as you have been granted a residence permit, you can start a civic integration programme. The Education Executive Agency (DUO) will inform you about this programme. Learning Dutch is a fixed part of the civic integration programme.

Support of the Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF)

Once you start Dutch language level B1 in the civic programme, you can apply to the Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF) for funding. It may take a couple months to process an application.

The UAF gives

  • advise about choosing a degree programme;
  • support while studying and when looking for a job;
  • financial support when preparing for a programme or during the programme itself, such as paying tuition fees and books.

Certificates and diplomas

If you managed to bring certificates and diplomas from your home country, they will be used to see if you are eligible for a Bachelor's or Master's degree programme. You may only start a Dutch-taught programme once you have passed level II of the NT2 Dutch as a second language exam (Staatsexamen Nederlands NT2, niveau II). Your proficiency in English will be a decisive factor when applying for an English-taught programme.

Preparatory Year

Once you have reached level B1 in Dutch, you may apply for the Preparatory Year (VBJ) for non-native speakers at the Alfa-college in Groningen. The Preparatory Year is a bridging programme to prepare you for a degree programme at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences or the University of Groningen.

More information?


Ben je een Nederlandse studiekiezer? Ga dan naar onze pagina's voor Nederlandse studenten.

Last modified:02 July 2019 4.07 p.m.