An unexpected cut in education funding surfaced in the Spring Memorandum. MBO and higher education will receive less funding because students are entitled to an extended period of student loans and grants due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Billions in support measures have been coming in thick and fast over the past few months, but apparently there’s a gap in the education budget. Part of the 8.5 billion euros in support measures for education has not yet been covered.
One of the support measures gives students a few additional months of student grants and loans, and the same applies to the use of their student public transport pass. But the cabinet is not willing to spend more money to fund these measures.
The Spring Memorandum published by the cabinet on Friday reveals that MBO and higher education will end up bearing these costs. The amount will rise from 40 million in 2024 to 149 million euros in 2027. Of this total, universities will lose out on 43 million.
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Actually, the amount is even higher because OCW will also use 91 million from the ‘year-end margin’ as ‘intertemporal coverage’ for these measures. This involves funds the ministry can shift between different budget years. At present, this money cannot be spent for other purposes.
So in total, this support for students is a 220-million-euro burden in the OCW budget, unless the Lower House decides to do something about it. A future coalition government could also make different agreements.
There is also positive news to report. The distribution of self-tests and the associated communication in MBO and higher education is likely to be 63.5 million euros cheaper, so the costs will remain at 71.5 million euros.
At any rate, that is the estimate ‘based on the most up-to-date data’. The rest of the money will remain available for the self-tests if that should prove necessary. No reasons were given as to why it was so much cheaper.