Universities in Belgian Flanders fear a mass inflow of Dutch students following the abolition of the basic student grant in the Netherlands, according to a report by the Flemish newspaper De Standaard on Thursday.

The Flemish Minister of Education, Hilde Crevits, is concerned about the new loan system in the Netherlands which was approved on Tuesday by the Upper House. This will add thousands of euros to the cost of higher education for Dutch students. The Flemish Minister wants to meet her Dutch counterpart to discuss the possible consequences for higher education in Belgium.

Half the cost

In Belgium, tuition fees are half what they are in the Netherlands. For students embarking on a second study, the difference is even greater. Crevits has proposed a meeting with Bussemaker on Monday, the Dutch Ministry of Education announced. Both ministers will be in Brussels on that day for another meeting, so that would be a logical time. Bussemaker has not yet responded to the official request.

Belgium attracts around 6000 students from the Netherlands every year. For many years, this has been far more than the number of Belgian students coming to study in the Netherlands. HOP/ES