EUR will make its first additional investments in its education programmes this academic year, to make up for the abolition of student grants in 2015. The university will spend a one-time amount of €6 million, as well as €4 million per year until 2018.

The abolition of student grants has resulted in a government saving of up to one billion euros – money which will be pumped back into the Dutch education system. However, this money will not become available until 2018.

In order to allow students who are now being forced to take out student loans to profit from this windfall, EUR will make some so-called ‘pre-investments’. The higher education sector has promised to invest 200 million euro annually in the quality of its education programmes in the 2015-2017 period.

ISS doesn't qualify

These millions will be distributed across faculties according to their numbers of Dutch students, since it is Dutch students who have lost their student grants. On the basis of these calculations, the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) will be granted another €920,000 per annum to invest in its education programme, plus a one-time amount of €1.38 million. The smallest faculty (Philosophy) will receive another €80,000 per year, as well as a one-off sum of €120,000. However, the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) for example will not receive any additional money, due to its international nature.

Smaller-scale education

A total of 55+ FTEs worth of additional teaching positions will be created, distributed across 52 projects across all faculties. Over 70 percent of these projects are designed to reduce the scale of lectures and seminars, or to create more intensive courses, for instance by hiring new lecturers. Other projects involve improving study facilities, enabling digitisation and developing special programmes for talented students. For example, the Erasmus School of Law (ESL) will make additional investments in digitisation, while ESE will establish a “tutor academy” which will improve its lecturers’ didactic skills. For its part, the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) will reduce the size of its tutoring groups.

Delayed implementation

The various plans should have been implemented in the previous academic year, but this did not happen. Initially, the descriptions of the faculties’ plans lacked detail. The plans then had to be approved by all levels of university governance, from the faculty councils to the Executive Board, which resulted in delayed implementation. This is why the investments were not made last year, but will be made this year.

In addition to the “pre-investments” in the university’s education programmes, €2 million per year will be made available to establish an innovation fund which will be used to improve the quality of the education programmes across all faculties. The fund’s plans are expected to be finalised by the end of 2016.