What is a basic student grant?

A monthly loan from DUO, the Education Executive Agency, that is waived if you obtain your degree on time.

What will the basic grant amounts be from September?

The basic grant amount is 110.30 euros a month for students living with their parents. The basic grant for students living away from home is 274.90 euros a month, plus a 164.30-euro increase from September to compensate for high inflation.

Will that increase of 164.30 euros a month disappear after a year?

Yes, according to the Spring Memorandum 2023. CDA and D66 originally supported a plan to extend the financial support by a further three years, albeit at a slightly reduced amount. They reasoned that the increase could be funded from the money that would be saved when the halving of tuition fees for first-year and second-year students in teacher training programmes ends from September 2024.

The amount involved is 450 million euros. However, the Spring Memorandum makes clear that the government now intends to use that money to plug the hole in its budget.

But wasn’t that money promised to students?

Not entirely. It is true that Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf previously pledged that all the money that would be taken away from students (by stopping the halving of tuition fees) ‘should flow back to students’. And in the long run, it will: it is intended to fund the supplementary grant.

However, the government and the coalition parties have earmarked the money that is set to be released in the coming years for a variety of different purposes. Part of the money will go towards funding secondary vocational education, and part is earmarked for knowledge security in higher education and research.

It is correct that a sizeable portion was intended to go to students living away from home to assist them with increased energy costs. A clear majority in the House of Representatives appeared to be in favour of this. But the government was never keen on the idea, and the coalition parties eventually decided against tabling their motion to that effect.

Is there a possibility that the situation might yet be changed?

The plans are unlikely to go ahead now, although the House of Representatives can, in principle, call the government to account, for instance if the coalition parties were yet to table their motion. Even the Senate, where the government does not have a majority, could still be difficult, provided that the senators consider the issue important enough.

What do students think?

They are not happy. The Dutch Student Union (LSVb) argues that the government is breaking a ‘direct pledge’ it made to students. “It is one thing to make cuts when there are unexpected setbacks, but to then start cutting back on students is incomprehensible”, says union chair Joram van Velzen. “The House of Representatives really needs to hit the emergency brake.”

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