The new basic grant for students living away from home will be temporarily increased by 165 euros next academic year, because of skyrocketing inflation. Government parties CDA and D66 do not think this is enough and want the inflation allowance to apply for three years, rather than one.

The proposal is expected to have broad support. The opposition was apparently surprised and barely addressed it. Opposition parties mainly focused on the ‘inadequate’ compensation for students who never received a basic grant, and the rising interest rates on student debt.

EM illustratie 15 nov 2020 Wiersema financien lening budget-03 geld duo studenten money students

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Parliamentary majority for three-year increase to basic grant

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Interest at zero

For example, the SP and BIJ1 want the interest rate to be kept at zero, while JA21 and Volt advocated an interest ceiling. Volt also wants students who studied between 2015 and 2023 to be exempt from interest on the share of their debt that they would normally have received as a basic grant.

In the follow-up debate tonight, minister Dijkgraaf will elaborate on the proposals. Regarding the compensation of the ’unlucky students’, the signs are not favourable. Earlier this week, he made it clear that he rather sees them as the ‘lucky generation’ and that in his view they are already adequately compensated. It will be especially interesting to see how he will react to the proposal from CDA and his own party D66.

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Curbing influx of internationals

Minister Dijkgraaf will also have to explain again why he isn’t in a hurry to curb the influx of international students. The VVD, among others, wants him to make better use of the existing legal instruments and requests a quota for students from outside Europe. MP Hatte van der Woude understands that internationalisation is a complex issue, “but by now it’s time for a bill, not a letter.”

The CDA agrees that international students studying psychology or communications are not at all what the Dutch labour market is waiting for.