Minister for Education Robbert Dijkgraaf has already discussed his plans with the Lower House and has slightly revised his original proposal. The amounts of the various student grants have been increased by nearly €20 per month. Students who live with their parents will receive €109,90 per month, whereas students who no longer live with their parents will receive €273,90 per month (up from €91 and €255, respectively).
Moreover, the threshold for a supplementary grant has been lowered. Students will now be eligible for a supplementary grant if their parents earn less than €70,000 annually. Previously, the Cabinet wanted to introduce a €53,900 threshold. The lowering of the threshold is good news for some 50,000 students.
The lower the parents’ income, the higher the amount of the supplementary grant. Supplementary grants will be capped at €401.34 per month. Students whose parents earn less than €34,600 will be eligible for this amount.
Double the fee
The Cabinet hopes to be able to pay for the more generous grants by doubling the tuition fees imposed on first-year students (and second-year students attending teacher training academies). Since 2018, these students have only been charged half the flat tuition fee normally imposed on students. However, this measure is now to be cancelled, which will give the government €170 million.
The idea was proposed by two coalition parties, CDA and D66. When put to the vote, their motion was carried by a clear majority of MPs, despite opposition by five opposition parties: PvdA, SP, GroenLinks, PvdD and DENK.
Statutory tuition fees are currently set at €2,200. In other words, now that the halving of tuition fees is to be cancelled, first-year students will be an additional €1,100 out of pocket. Students who are attending teacher training academies, who have recently seen their tuition fees halved not just in their first year, but in their second year, will lose this amount twice.
The new student grants will be introduced in September 2023. It should be noted that neither the basic grant nor the supplementary grant is technically a gift, unless students obtain a degree within ten years of embarking on their degree programme. Those who do not obtain a degree will be required to refund the entire grant amount they have received.
The bill also refers to the compensation to be awarded to the generation of students who have missed out on student grants in recent years. Per the bill, the total amount to be awarded in compensation must not exceed €1 billion.