Late on Tuesday evening, the Senate passed the legislative proposal governing the student loan system, the studievoorschot. This means that, as of this September, new bachelor and master students will no longer receive a basic student grant. In place of this, they will be able to borrow from the government.

The student loan system coalition comprising the VVD [People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy], PvdA [Labour party], D66 [Democrats 66] and GroenLinks [Green Left] encountered no real problems during the debate that took up the entire day. Prior to the debate, there was speculation that some senators would be dissident, in the same way as during the debate on the free choice of doctors.

But, ultimately, all the senators from the four parties obediently complied with the partly line. Even Ruud Koole, the PvdA Senator who according to various media sources had misgivings about the legislative proposal, voted in favour of the student loan system. 36 senators voted in favour of the proposal, while 29 were opposed to it. The other ten Senators were absent during the vote.

As was expected, there were times when the debate became quite heated and criticism of the system was even voiced by members of the parties proposing the student loan system. In particular, GroenLinks and the PvdA gave Minister Jet Bussemaker a grilling. For example, about the fact that current bachelor students won’t receive a basic student grant in their fourth year. However, despite the criticism, Bussemaker never encountered any real problems; even though motions were tabled, not a single one was successful. HOP/TF