Students who graduate between September 2020 and late January 2021 will receive three months’ worth of tuition fees. For students attending universities and universities of applied sciences, this handout will amount to €535.
The Ministers stated that they assumed that many of these students would have completed their degrees earlier if it hadn’t been for the coronavirus crisis. However, they will not verify this on a case-by-case basis. In other words, students who would have graduated late anyway are lucky.
The Cabinet also discussed the position of students who receive a regular student grant and/or supplementary grant. If they are ineligible for such a grant in July, August and September, they will receive an allowance. For students attending universities and universities of applied sciences, the one-off allowance will amount to 1,500 euro.
Ingrid van Engelshoven, the Minister for Education, believes that other students who have fallen behind in their studies will be able to catch up down the track. She stated as much in a debate held in the Dutch Lower House two weeks ago, and also on Erasmus TV.
The opposition parties wanted a larger sum to be allocated to students who are negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis. One measure proposed by PvdA (the Dutch Labour Party) was actually supported by 50 per cent of the MPs: students who currently receive a supplementary grant (regardless of whether they are first-year students or students about to graduate) should be eligible for a three-month extension of that grant. Only the four coalition parties (VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie) voted against this proposal. They wish to hear more about the Minister’s plans first.
Previously, CDA and D66 had tabled a motion asking MPs to look into how the coronavirus crisis is affecting students and “to support students where necessary, for instance if they have fallen behind in their studies”.
The decision announced today was the ministers’ answer to that motion. The Cabinet will implement a ‘blanket measure’ affecting a large number of students, without trying to ascertain which students have and haven’t been affected by the crisis. As a result, the measure will be able to be implemented more easily and more quickly.
It should be noted that students who have fallen ill themselves are eligible for a grant awarded by their own university or university of applied sciences, as the Minister for Education pointed out during the debate. To obtain such a grant, students must apply to a so-called ‘profiling fund’ (student financial support fund). The same is true for students who are giving care to a loved one or who find themselves in a different type of emergency.
Apply as soon as possible
Different profiling funds have different rules. Some universities require students to apply as soon as possible if they feel they are eligible for a grant. If not, they will miss out.