The four ruling parties received fierce criticism from their own members: their youth organisations are rebelling against the education budget. Following the abolition of the basic student grant, they believe the cabinet may not make cuts to higher education.

“Cabinet breaks promise to students” tops the petition that youth members from the VVD, CDA, ChristenUnie and D66 are sending to the Lower House on Tuesday. The youth from GroenLinks are also joining in, along with the student organisations ISO and LSVb.

The basic grant has gone and this releases money. Next year, universities and universities of applied science will have an extra 206 million euros at their disposal. At the same time, higher education needs to make cuts, and that was not in the agreement, say the youth organisations.

Efficiency cut

They are referring to a disputed ‘efficiency cut’ which rises to 43.6 million euros in the year 2021. The cabinet is thus eating away at the revenue from the new student loan system, according to the youth organisations.

When the basic grant was abolished in 2015, VVD, PvdA, D66 and GroenLinks claimed that all the revenue from the student loan system would go towards improving higher education, say the signatories. “We call on all parties in the Lower House to invest in the future and to abolish these cuts to education.”

Next week D66 minister Van Engelshoven will defend the education budget in the Lower House.