Successful DUO visit to Caribbean region
The recently concluded autumn campaign of the Education Executive Service (DUO) in the Caribbean was a great success. Besides opening temporary service offices, there were information sessions, webinars and tailor-made help for payment problems. And for the first time, all six islands in the Caribbean were visited in one campaign.
The visits clearly met a need. Compared to the combined autumn 2021 campaign and last spring's campaign, there were about half as many visitors. The extensive media coverage before and during the campaign certainly helped in this regard.
Prospective and former students
For prospective students, there were well-attended meetings where they, together with their parents, were informed about study financing and other matters they need to organise in the Netherlands.
For former students, there were meetings explaining the possibilities of applying for a support assessment, repayment locally and what to do in case of payment problems. At the service offices' open desk, people were helped to apply for a support assessment, among other things. The Tax Authorities on the various islands were very helpful in this process by providing the necessary income statements to the former student quickly after the visit, so that these could be sent along with the application as proof.
This year, special attention was paid to the use of Mijn DUO. Former students can view their data and messages via Mijn DUO after logging in with a DigiD. This way, they are no longer dependent on postal delivery. If former students do not (or no longer) have access to Mijn DUO, by applying for a (new) DigiD they can once again do their business with DUO online.
As in previous campaigns, DUO again offered tailor-made help with payment problems. At the service offices, former students could make an appointment to come to a tailor-made solution for payment arrears.
In the period between 31 October and 9 December, all six islands were visited. During that period, 1,450 visitors visited the public counter. Substantially more compared to the previous visits.
During the autumn 2021 campaign (Aruba and Curaçao) there were 718 visitors and during the spring 2022 campaign (Sint Maarten, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire) there were 326 visitors.
There was a very positive response to the temporary service offices. For the first time, there were also evening openings once a week which were well attended and seem to meet a need. The mini campaign to enable people with login problems to use Mijn DUO again clearly had an effect.
Campaigns in the Caribbean are on the agenda again next year.