18 July 2018 • HOP, Steffi Weber
First Chamber begrudgingly supports cutting tuition fees in half
The First Chamber has voted to cut tuition fees for first-year students in half. Starting in September, tuition fees for first-year students will be reduced by more than a thousand euros. One year later, second-year students in the teacher training degree programme can also receive the same reduction.
Senators have strong criticism about the bill and the arguments presented by Minister Van Engelshoven. First and foremost is that all students would receive reduced tuition fees even though they can afford the regular fees and would be enrolling anyway. That total amount of the reduction (173 million euros) could instead be used to expand the supplementary grant.
GroenLinks would prefer to bury the minister’s written clarification in a drawer, says representative Ruard Ganzevoort. “We can wrap it up in pretty words but, in all honesty, the arguments given for this bill simply do not hold water.” He has previously referred to the minister’s responses as inadequate.
The VVD was also critical, but stated that it “there is always the possibility” that the bill will have the desired effect, which is to make higher education more accessible, and that students may choose a study based on factors other than financial considerations. The CDA “had and still has a number of concerns about this bill, including its urgency”, but, at the same time does not want to put a spanner in the works.
The ISO and LSVb student organisations consider the reduction of tuition fees like paying from your own pocket. After all, the interest rate on study grants is being increased, so that students with large loans will ultimately wind up paying for this reduction.