Students of the two-year part-time Master’s degree in Business Administration taught by the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) paid €17.000’s worth of tuition fees per year. At present, Dutch universities are allowed to charge up to €2060 for government-funded degree programmes. Students who took the degree in question are allowed to apply for a refund of 50 per cent of the tuition fees they paid.

Students doing the Master’s degree in Finance & Investment Advanced were also overcharged, paying €8.000 more than the statutory tuition fee. In late March, the Education Inspectorate ruled that this was a violation of the law. The Finance students are allowed to request a refund for 25 per cent of their tuition fees.

The Minister for Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven, has acknowledged that she cannot force RSM to give its students a refund. RSM does not agree with the Education Inspectorate and the Minister. Therefore, the faculty does not feel that the university ‘violated the law’. However, RSM does feel that ‘time-consuming legal procedures’ will not benefit anyone. Furthermore, the faculty wishes to stop ‘constant commotion’ from jeopardising the department’s good reputation. For this reason, the students have been offered a partial refund.

The arrangement

Students and alumni will have to apply for the refund themselves. They must do so before 1 January 2020. As far as the Master’s degree in Business Administration is concerned, the arrangement applies to students who took their degrees in 2016-2018, 2017-2019 and 2018-2020. Upon embarking on their degrees, students and former students entered into a commitment that, according to RSM, expired after three years. “This means that all claims for repayment submitted by former students who embarked on their degrees before the 2016-2017 academic year are no longer valid in any case, quite aside from the fact that RSM does not share the verdict delivered by the Inspectorate and the Minister,” the faculty stated in its explanation on the refund arrangement.

All students who have done a Master’s degree in Finance & Investments (Advanced) are allowed to apply for a refund. This relatively new degree has only been taught for the last three years. RSM announced earlier in this year that it will stop offering this Master’s degree.

All students and alumni who are eligible for the arrangement received an e-mail outlining it on Friday afternoon. If a student’s employer helped pay the tuition fees, the student or former student may apply for a refund in association with his/her employer.