Studying as a refugee

If you are an asylum seeker in the Netherlands and would like to study at Avans University of Applied Sciences, read what options you have and where you can find support.

Avans University of Applied Sciences is a Higher Professional Education institution offering courses in higher education.

What you need if you want to study in the Netherlands

You will need the following before you can study at Avans:

  • residence permit
  • a certificate of valid prior education – you need this in order to be eligible for admission to the study programme of your choice. Read more details 
  • Dutch at level B2 (NT2) is required if you wish to follow a Dutch-taught course. If you wish to follow an English-taught course, you must have a command of English at B2 level (demonstrated by IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge)
  • Financial means to contribute toward your study costs (statutory or institution tuition fees, books, a laptop, etc.).

You have a diploma

In order to be admitted to a programme at Avans University of Applied Sciences, the main rule is that you must hold a Dutch HAVO (higher general secondary education), VWO (university preparatory education) or MBO 4 (intermediate vocational education) diploma, or a comparable foreign diploma. The Avans webpage for your study programme will list any additional academic requirements. If you have a foreign diploma and want to know whether you are eligible for admission, you can ask Avans or Nuffic to assess your diploma. If you meet the admission requirements, you can apply. As applications take time to process, please apply as soon as possible.

You don’t have a diploma

If you don’t have a diploma, you can take the 21+ test (‘21+ toets’) if you are 21 years of age or older at the start of the study programme. This test examines your suitability for admission to a particular study programme at Avans. If you are younger than 21 when the study programme starts, please send an email to [email protected].


You pay tuition fees to follow a study programme. You will also need money for books, a laptop and sometimes practical materials. In order to be able to pay for this, you may need to apply for financial aid for studying as a refugee. This is a loan from the Dutch national government. Read more about financial aid for studying.

Help from the Refugee Students Foundation (Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten, UAF)

The University Asylum Fund (Universitair Asyl Fonds) helps refugees to find work or education and sometimes provides financial support. This money is intended as a contribution toward tuition fees, language courses, books and other study costs. Follow the steps to see if you’re eligible for support.

Getting to know Avans

If you have any questions, please send us an email. We’ll make sure your question is sent the person who can help you.