Don’t just halve tuition fees for first years, but for all students, says the Dutch National Union of Students (LSVb). A petition on the subject has already received 5,000 signatures.

Student organisations ISO and LSVb were furious last week. They feel that the new government is making them pay. In practice, the 1,000 euro discount on tuition fees for first years announced in the coalition agreement appears to be a ‘gift’ from other students.

Own wallet

Some other students will be paying for this gift to their new fellow students. Interest on student loans is currently zero percent, but the four parties have agreed to increase the interest rate, making studying more expensive. At least for students who are forced to take out a high student loan.

Because students with a 16,500 euro loan will pay an extra 1,000 euros in interest: exactly the amount of the discount on tuition fees. And students with even higher loans will be contributing to the discount for wealthier students.


The LSVb finds this inexplicable. “Students who borrow a lot of money are often the students whose parents are less well off,” they say in a press release. So the new government is doing nothing to tackle inequality in higher education, according to vice president Pieter ten Broeke. On the contrary: “With this measure, they are doing the opposite.”

The union launched the petition last week. There are 700,000 students in higher education. Halving tuition fees would cost around 700 million euros a year.