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A quarter of MBO graduates who are entitled to a supplementary grant do not apply for it

Non-users have also been a theme at DUO, the organization that pays out the supplementary grant, a spokesperson said. They have changed a number of things since 2019, partly because of the previous research into the use of the supplementary grant in higher professional education and at university. For example, DUO has adjusted the information about the supplementary grant, as a result of which the number of applications has increased since then, according to a spokesperson.

This is not reflected in the CPB study, because the researchers are based on data from 2019. Complete data from later years were not yet available, the researchers say.

A few hundred euros for books

Milan Safy (18) is a student legal assistant and found out last week that he was entitled to an additional grant. In addition to his education, he also works as treasurer on the board of the national MBO organization JOB.

“I have the school costs portfolio myself,” he says, “and during the arranging I found out that you can apply for a supplementary grant.” He initially thought that he would not be entitled to it, because he has his own income and uses it to pay for his studies. In addition to his studies, he works about 30 hours a week.

But he turned out to be entitled to it. “I live with my mother and she is below the maximum that you can get as a parent, which means that I also receive an additional grant.”

In his case, it is about 100 to 150 euros per month. “Then I don’t have to look at my mother if I have to pay a few hundred euros in books, then I can just leave her alone.”

‘Don’t miss out on money’

One of the changes that DUO has already implemented is that they have added this text to the website: ‘Don’t miss out on money. Always apply for the supplementary grant or allowance’.

That helped, says Milan. “It is very nice that they emphasize that the MBO student simply has to apply for the supplementary grant. Which gave me an extra push of: just click it.”

According to the Central Planning Bureau, it could help if the implementing organization DUO approaches students themselves if they are entitled to a supplementary grant, or automatically ticks the option to apply for it. With the latter suggestion, there is a risk that students will inadvertently end up with student debt if they don’t graduate within ten years, say the researchers. For the highest MBO levels, the supplementary grant only becomes a gift if they obtain their diploma within ten years.

DUO has announced that improving the application process for the supplementary grant, in order to reduce non-use, will be included in the reintroduction of the basic grant. Education Minister Dijkgraaf confirms this when asked. He will also provide more details in a letter to parliament shortly.

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