This autumn, with soaring inflation firmly in mind, Minister for Education, Culture and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf proposed a €165 monthly increase to the new basic grant for students living away from home.
Political parties D66 and the CDA regard this as a good idea, yet believe that there are good grounds for awarding an increased grant for a three-year period.
MP for the CDA party Harry van der Molen put forward a number of arguments for extending the increase during the debate on the education budget today. The increase to the basic grant will not come into effect until September 2023, despite the fact that the rest of the Netherlands has since 1 January been benefiting from the purchasing power package designed by the government to mitigate the effects of high inflation. Moreover, first-year students will go back to paying full tuition fees from 2024/2025 onwards. He is also concerned that energy prices will remain high for some time to come.
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MP for D66 Paul van Meenen argued for an extension. He takes the view that the monthly basic grant should be €375. The costs could be covered by the funds raised by discontinuing the halving of tuition fees.
Chair of the Dutch National Student Association (ISO) Terri van der Velden is happy with the extension, even if this does not eliminate all concerns: ‘This isn’t particularly palatable for students who aren’t eligible for the basic grant. And yet we’re keen to look forwards and stress that this will help a very sizeable group of students.’