Universities and universities of applied sciences are being contacted by large numbers of refugee students from Ukraine who want to enrol at a Dutch institution next September. Should they be granted a temporary residence permit, as the House of Representatives has requested in a motion, they would no longer have to pay prohibitive institutional tuition fees (for most programmes this is a multiple of the ‘standard’ tuition fee), and they would be eligible for student financing.

Swift decision

Until the Cabinet makes a decision on this, refugees don’t know whether they will be able to afford to study in the Netherlands, the Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF) writes in a letter to Minister of Education Robbert Dijkgraaf and State Secretary of Justice and Security Eric van den Burg. The letter has been cosigned by the higher education institutions.

“It is therefore important that a decision on the provisions for students with this status be made in the very near future”, they write. “Excessive costs should never be a barrier for refugee students to continue their studies.”

Emergency support

The UAF and the institutions already asked the Cabinet for financial support for refugee students back in early March. In response, the government quickly made 1 million euros available for emergency support for refugee students (and staff) at Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences, followed by another 2.3 million euros in early April. Meanwhile, talks on how to handle refugees in Dutch higher education in the new academic year are still ongoing.

Bohdan 2 (EM)

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