This morning, the youth organisations stuck their ultimatum on the door of Het Logement in The Hague, where inquirer Johan Remkes is discussing the formation of a new cabinet with VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie. The students are demanding a response by 26 October, no later than noon.
LSVb and FNV Young & United won’t share what kind of actions they have in mind, as they want to surprise the negotiating parties, says LSVb’s Ama Boahene. “But it’s not just going to be a few tongue-in-cheek stunts.”
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Remkes didn’t come to the door himself, but according to Boahene, the security team at Het Logement promised to give him the ultimatum. The unions want students to be able to study ‘debt free’.
To illustrate how quickly the total student debt in the Netherlands is increasing, they formed a live student debt counter. Standing side by side, they each held up a number, accompanied by a #nietmijnschuld (not my fault/debt) mascot. The total student debt in the Netherlands currently exceeds 22 billion euros.
Together with other youth organisations within the Social and Economic Council (SER), LSVb and FNV Young & United previously submitted a proposal for measures to relieve pressure on students. They now say that this document should be the starting point for a new student financing system.
The proposal says little about compensation for students who missed out on the basic student grant. “That’s definitely going to be a struggle”, Boahene says. “Some parties want to allocate far too little money for compensation. We believe that students should still receive the money they would have gotten through the basic student grant.”
While D66, CDA and ChristenUnie have all promised to tackle student financing, VVD is still firmly behind the current loan system. This means that it may take some time before the basic student grant is reinstated.