Two lawyers and a student previously reported their suspicions of ethnic profiling during fraud checks to the Education Executive Agency (DUO). Previous research by the Higher Education Press Agency, Investico and NOSop3 found that checks on the misuse of student grants sometimes go wrong, and that students from migrant backgrounds are disproportionately affected.
In response to this, DUO claimed in late June that it had never received such signals before. However, two lawyers and a student are now claiming the opposite in the Trouw daily newspaper. Lawyers Rudolf van der Ham and Diane Pietersz had already voiced their suspicions in 2020 and 2021, while the anonymous student with a Turkish background filed an official complaint in 2021. He lived with his aunt, And during a home visit, inspectors allegedly told her: “We often see fraud among people with your background, be honest and admit that he doesn’t live here.”
Student grant for students who live away from home
Students living away from home receive a higher basic grant than those who still live at home. In the past year, this difference amounted to approximately two thousand euros annually. As such, some students pretend not to live with their parents to qualify for the higher grant To verify whether students truly live away from home, DUO conducts home visits and neighbourhood investigations
To this end, DUO used a computer system that selected students for home visits. However, Minister of Education, Culture and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf has decided that this system may no longer be used. DUO can still conduct checks, but only based on random sampling. In recent years, students in vocational education (mbo) were subject to checks, as there was no basic grant in higher education. In the coming years, students in higher professional education (hbo) and university will also be subject to checks.