As members of the participation council, students participate in discussions relating to the policy of their university of applied sciences or research university. They even have a right of consent on important matters. All the parties agree that this responsibility should be matched by an adequate financial compensation, but the question is: how much should that be?

In recent years, educational institutions and students were unable to reach consensus on this. Last December, Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf tried to aid the talks by pledging an additional several million euros to the higher education institutions, on condition that they reached agreement with the student organisations ISO and LSVb by this summer.


That agreement is now in place, although not with full enthusiasm. While it includes commitments on minimum levels of compensation, it also provides for exceptions in that regard. The parties have also agreed on a ‘process’ for reaching that higher compensation, with the agreed figures being taken ‘as a guideline’.

Students who are members of a central participation council could be poised to receive between 500 and 1200 euros a month. Compensation for students serving on faculty or decentral participation councils is set at between 250 and 525 euros.


Universities of applied sciences and research universities have pledged to enter into ‘constructive’ dialogue with their own participatory bodies about these compensation levels. Before the end of this year, they will announce how the talks went and what level of compensation they have agreed upon. This will finally give a clear picture at the national level of who receives what.

Earlier, concerns arose among participation council members that a national guideline would be lower than the levels of compensation some institutions already allocate. The agreement states that ‘positive’ exceptions are possible, although it is not entirely clear whether institutions that pay ‘too much’ can now lower the compensation they give.

No amounts have been agreed for students who sit on programme committees. ISO and LSVb had proposed between 125 and 200 euros per month for them, but the higher education institutions are not in favour of this.

Standard workload

In 2018, the parties agreed on a standard workload of roughly eight hours per week for students serving on a central council. This closely matches the hours spent by students in higher professional education, according to the latest participation monitor. The average workload for research university students tends to be around twenty hours weekly.

Once the agreement on the standard workload was in place, the House of Representatives also called for a national guideline on financial compensation for students who serve on their institution’s participation council. Dijkgraaf wrote to the House of Representatives that he is pleased to see this has now been agreed. The higher education institutions are now likely to receive the additional three million euros they were pledged, which is to be shared between them.

balans geld tijd illustratie Eva Gombar-Krishnan

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