You must fulfill nationality conditions, conditions of study and financial conditions in order to receive a study allowance from the Flemish Government. There is no age criterium.
If you meet all the requirements, you receive a scholarship. In that case, you are also eligible for a reduction of the tuition fee.
If you are temporarily staying in Belgium because of your studies, the nationality conditions will be an obstacle and you will not be eligible to request a study allawonce from the Flemish Government. If you do not meet the requirements, you will have to fund your studies yourself and (if possible) apply for financial assistance and/or study aid in your home country.
Students enrolling in Higher Education for the first time
Students enrolling in Higher Education for the first time (generation students) have not yet earned any study credits. When they begin their studies, they receive a starting credit of 60 study credits and a bonus credit. The bonus credit is a bonus (reserve) of 60 study credits.
The study credits they subsequently earn will be deducted from the starting credit. Eligibility for a study allowance will depend on the number of study credits earned. Study credits earned are those study credits associated with programme components you have passed. Any study credits allocated for courses which you actually failed (gedelibereerde studiepunten) will not be taken into account. As you earn study credits, you build up your own credit: study allowance credit.
The balance of your study allowance credit (and the starting credit) can be transferred. For example, if you have earned 60 study credits but enrol on a course worth only 40 study credits, then you will receive a study allowance for 40 study credits and the remaining balance of 20 study credits can be used at a later date.
The bonus credit will be used automatically (no option) if you have enrolled for a course worth more study credits than what you earned during the previous academic year. The balance of your bonus credit can also be transferred.
The right to a study allowance is not related to individual programmes. If you switch programmes then this will not automatically be considered a study delay. In the past you were required to use your entire bonus credit if you switched courses. This was the case even in instances where study progress was demonstrated. Since academic year 08-09, you are no longer required to use your (full) bonus credit if you earned sufficient study credits during the previous academic year.
The number of credits you can earn is capped. This means that the number of study credits you can earn in order to obtain a degree is limited to 240 study credits for the first Bachelor degree and 420 study credits for the second Bachelor degree. For a Master degree, the cap is equal to the total number of study credits required for the Master programme you choose + 30.
The final assessment of your right to a study allowance takes place on 30 June of the academic year. If it transpires that you stopped your studies during the academic year or made a change to your programme then you will be required to repay the study allowance you received (in part).
The date on which your enrolment was cancelled or amended plays an important role here. You can choose to change programmes during the academic year (reorientation). If the number of study credits is the same, then you will not have to repay your scholarship. If the number of study credits required is lower, then you will have to repay part of your scholarship. Here, too, the date of reorientation is taken into account. Request more information from the Office for Student Affairs or read more about this under 'Changing or stopping your course'.
If you are married or have been financially independent for some time then you may consider submitting an application based on your own income and/or that of your partner. Certain restrictions apply, however. Request more information from the Office for Student Affairs.
It can take up to several months to process a 'study allowance' application. You can receive an interest-free advance payment on your study allowance from Social Services if you are experiencing financial difficulties. Advance payments can be obtained as of mid-August. However, please note that your enrolment for the new academic year must have been duly completed when you submit an application.
We recommend that you apply for your study allowance on time. This means that the application should be submitted during the first months of the academic year. Submitting your application after this date may have consequences for your tuition fee.
The central student administration works with advance payments. Students who received a study allowance in the previous academic year (2021-2022) will make an advance payment upon enrolment. In the spring of 2023, tuition fees will be recalculated on the basis of study credits earned and the scholarship actually allocated.
If your application for a study allowance has not been processed by February then the central student administration will ask you to pay the balance of your tuition fees. If you do subsequently receive a scholarship, then the excess tuition fees will be reimbursed to you.