22 July 2019 • HOP, by Inge Schouten
Also funding for multi-year HBO master
HBO master’s degrees with a duration of more than a year also deserve extra funding, just like the research university master’s programmes, states Minister Van Engelshoven. She wants to regulate this by law. At the same time she will equalise student finance for all master’s degree students.
Universities of applied sciences currently only receive funding for one-year master’s programmes. If the institution decides to increase the study load to 90 or 120 credits, they receive no additional funding. The very few exceptions under the law are the master for physician assistant and advanced nurse practitioner, some of the first degree teacher training programmes and master’s degrees in architecture.
The rules for research university master’s degrees are quite different. A one-year master at a research university that requires more credit, for example because of professional requirements or to meet international standards, is eligible for extra funding. But until now most universities of applied sciences/master’s programmes were legally excluded from any additional funding.
The amount of student finance received for a university of applied sciences and a research university master also differs. Students enrolled in a research university master will be entitled to student finance, a public transportation pass and an additional grant throughout their entire studies, even in a multi-year degree programme. But if an organisation unilaterally decides to extend the duration of a master – and consequently receives no additional funding – the students will not be eligible for any of these. However, the institution is obligated to financially support the students. None of this applies to university of applied sciences students who are completing an unfunded multi-year master.
Van Engelshoven wants to eliminate the differences between the university of applied sciences and the research university master’s programmes within the law. She hopes that this will increase the number of multi-year degrees for university of applied sciences/Master’s degree. However, don’t expect things to happen fast: the minister believes there will be few requests and hasn’t allocated any extra funding in her budget.
Step in the right direction
The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences sees the proposal as “a step in the right direction”. Current funding has been a thorny issue for a while, especially in master’s degree programmes that also focus on research. She is also pleased that there will be more opportunities to partner with foreign institutions.
The bill proposed by the minister is available online for consultation. Everyone is welcome to comment until the end of August. If the bill passes, the new regulation will go into effect on 1 January 2021.
The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences provides some examples of multi-year master’s programmes at university of applied sciences (HBO masters) that will only receive one year of funding.
- The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has designed a master’s degree in clinical obstetrics of 120 credits. The degree programme can only start if there is funding.
- The Zeeland, Van Hall Larenstein and Rotterdam Universities of Applied Sciences offer a joint River Delta Development master’s programme. This degree programme is a year and a half.
- The Hanze University of Applied Sciences offers three energy-related master’s degrees that are all a year and a half. The university of applied sciences also wants to increase the study load for its engineering master from 70 credits to 90 credits.
- Saxion offers a two-year master’s degree in advanced nanotechnology.