The coalition agreement of VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie states that as basic student grants are returning, students who had to make use of the student loan system will get some compensation. One billion euros has been reserved for this.
A large number of opposition parties wanted more information and asked questions of the new education ministers. How much will former students get? Will it be the equivalent of around 1,500 euros per person?
The government is keeping its cards close to its chest. “The amount of compensation a student can receive depends on the size of the target group and how the scheme is set up”, is the answer.
In other words, it depends on political choices. Compensation sounds easier than it actually is. For instance, do you compensate only students with a debt or also students without a debt who have lived frugally or have worked a lot?
But the main thing is that the total amount is one billion euros. As the government writes: “The more students that are eligible for compensation, the lower the amount per student will be.”
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That is surprising. Surely you first decide what is fair and subsequently the amount appropriate to that? But the government is doing things the other way round: first they have decided the amount, now they will determine a fair distribution.
The Dutch Student Union and youth union FNV Young & United have already announced a protest. They are going to demonstrate against the low compensation in Amsterdam on 5 February.
They are supported by several political parties, youth wings of political parties and local student unions. It turns out that the Dutch National Students’ Association supports the protest too, although it is not yet on the list.
The opposition parties also asked questions about the amounts of the new basic student grant. The government has not given any answers on that yet either.