Applications for next round of STAP budget open today
Netherlands residents can apply for the STAP budget again from Monday. The application website opens at 10:00 a.m. Benefits agency UWV expects the demand for the very popular study subsidy will be even higher today after the government announced the scheme would be scrapped next year.
The STAP budget is an allowance of 1,000 euros intended to help people increase their chances in the labor market through retraining or additional training. Anyone aged 18 or older can apply, provided they're not receiving a State pension. "As a worker or job seeker, you can apply for the STAP budget once a year via this UWV website," the Dutch government explained. "An application period starts every two months." If the money allocated for a period runs out, those who missed out must wait until the next round.
A total of 170 million euros is available for about 200,000 people this year. There are five application rounds. The second one of the year starts today. Last year, over 214,000 people received an average of 800 euros for additional- or re-training.
The benefits agency was critical of the government's decision to scrap the STAP budget as it tried to fill holes in the 2023 national budget. According to the UWV, the budget's disappearance will particularly affect the healthcare sector. A quarter of those who got the subsidy last year worked in healthcare, a sector in the Netherlands that is very overtaxed and understaffed.
The government launched the STAP budget last year to replace the tax deduction for training costs because the deduction was too complicated. This year, they added more requirements and safeguards after signals that the scheme was abused last year.
Training providers and educators now have stricter requirements to meet. Providers are not allowed to admit more than 300 participants per course per year, and trainers can be punished if they try to lure students with trips or gifts as sweeteners.