This will apply to tuition fees students pay for a ‘second study programme’ after having completed their initial bachelor or master programme. In principle, universities do not receive government funding for students in this category and are thus permitted to determine their own tuition fees.

There are large disparities between these fees. The university bachelor programme in Law in Rotterdam costs 6,300 euro, while in Leiden, it is 9,500 euro. For Medicine you pay 15,000 euro annually at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and 32,000 euro in Maastricht.

Not a license

But Minister Van Engelshoven will now amend legislation, supporting the motion tabled by her fellow party member Paul van Meenen (D66) in the Lower House yesterday. According to Van Meenen, the tuition fee must not exceed the statutory tuition fee plus the amount for regular government funding for an initial study programme.

Van Engelshoven agrees with this proposal and will accordingly introduce a statutory maximum. However, she explains that this does not constitute a ‘license’ to charge the maximum amount. Educational institutions will still have to provide an explanation regarding how they have determined their tuition fees.

180 million

It will cost 180 million euro to fund all students who wish to enrol in a second (or third or fourth etc.) study programme. These funds are not available at this time, said Van Engelshoven last week.

Funding for enrolling in a second study programme was discontinued in 2010. In exchange, people over the age of 30 were permitted to pay the statutory tuition fee if they wanted to enrol in a study, provided they had not already obtained a degree. That was not the case in the past. There are also exceptions to this rule: anyone interested in undergoing retraining to work in the healthcare or education sector is permitted to pay only the statutory tuition fee for a second study programme.

Students from outside the European Union also pay the institutional tuition fee and it is unclear if the maximum will apply to them as well. This particular group was not discussed during the parliamentary debate with the Minister.