“I’m still looking for the magic money tap at the Ministry, but I haven’t been able to find it yet”, Dijkgraaf told Parliamentarians after the latest attempt by opposition parties to get him to raise the government’s expenditure on basic student grants.
He also doesn’t have a single euro extra to compensate students who had ‘bad luck’ and missed out on the basic student grant. There too a billion euros has been earmarked and it will have to suffice, because that’s what was formerly agreed. For taking this position he received the full support of the coalition parties.
But why was that agreed? The Minister wasn’t able to give an answer right away. It was the outcome of negotiations conducted by others. “I think that the question can be answered, but not by me.” DENK, GroenLinks and Partij voor de Dieren kept going for a while, but they didn’t get an answer.
Volt and BBB had another look at the government’s coalition agreement. Surely it says that one billion will be allocated for reintroduction of the basic student grant? But the Minister wants to implement all kinds of other policies with that money too, like improving funding for students in senior secondary vocational education (MBO). Can’t he find other money for that, so that there’s more left over for the reintroduction of the basic student grant? The parties submitted a motion to that effect.
Looking as if it had been pre-arranged, CDA and D66 began to reproach the two parties, saying that they obviously valued students in higher education more than those in MBO programmes. This took BBB MP Van der Plas by surprise. She just wanted more money, she explained. “I’m strongly committed to MBO students, I have two sons who are MBO students.”
The Minister didn’t want anything to do with the motion, anyway. It didn’t say where the extra funding would come from, was his explanation.