A few weeks ago, the trial started where three student organizations are taking legal action against the long study fine (langstudeerboete) that was introduced ‘in middle of the game’. ISO, LKvV and LSVB said that the fine of €3,063, which students who take extra time to graduate will have to pay, is simply unfair.

The fine was initiated by the Secretary (now undersecretary) of Education Halbe Zijlstra back in 2010. Faced with economic hardship, the fine is not only a money saving measure, but also an educational stimulus. “Because of the fine students will choose a study more deliberately,” Zijlstra hoped.

Internationals affected

The fine will go into effect in September, if it is not deemed illegal by the court before 25th of July, when the final judgment will be announced. Even though some might think that only Dutch students are affected, the long study fine will also be imposed upon most of the EEA students. According to the student service centre, if you are eligible to pay the statutory tuition fee, then you are automatically vulnerable to the long study fine. Non-EEA students, who already pay substantially higher tuition fees, are exempt from the long study fine.

Bad news for part-timers

The chair of the ISO student union, Sebastian Hameleers, says that students with disabilities and part time students will suffer the most from the fines: “It will be nearly impossible for them to graduate without receiving the fine. They have to combine studying with their job and family”.

Furthermore, as Jan Boers, chair of LKvV said it is likely that less students will choose to go on exchange, because of the possible delay with their study.

Decreased quality

With the fine lurking just around the corner, a lot of students will have less time for extracurricular activities and the quality of the studies will most likely suffer. “The fine will produce “microwave-students – half cooked, lukewarm, and of poor quality”, wrote Young Socialists in their press release. Others will not go on with their studies altogether; according to the survey that EM conducted in March with 14 other higher education institutions, 18% said that the fine had changed their plans. MD/World University News