Higher education institutions are not allowed to charge fees on top of tuition fees, student representation organisation ISO stated earlier today. “Once more, we have received dozens of complaints,” said ISO President Jan Sinnige. “The problem has become increasingly severe over the last few months.”

While students are supposed to buy their textbooks and other materials themselves, education institutions are not supposed to charge additional fees for components of a student’s degree course. And if they really have to do so, they are required to provide an alternative that is free of charge.

Court case

If necessary, ISO, in association with the National Legal Office for Students (Landelijk Studenten Rechtsbureau), is willing to take the schools to court. “I am not mentioning any names, but certain institutions simply stop responding to our messages when we tell them they are not supposed to do this. So we are left with no other option but to take them to court.”

It is the principle that matters, says Sinnige, but it is also about the expenses themselves. “Attending university keeps getting more expensive. When I was a first-year student, tuition fees amounted to about 1,700 euros. Now they are two thousand euros. You can’t charge students more on top of that.”


In 2014, ISO published a blacklist of institutions charging fees on top of tuition fees. At the time, the Minister for Education, Jet Bussemaker, confirmed that tertiary education institutions are not allowed to do so. According to ISO, the number of complaints was then reduced, but it seems the education institutions have since forgotten the rules.