“The slow-progress penalty is a severe blow for students”, reads an urgent letter to the new coalition parties PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB. The signatories are asking these parties to reconsider their plan.

The future government parties want to more than double the tuition fees for students with study delays. Whoever takes longer than one year extra to finish their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree will pay three thousand euros extra.


This is bad for students in all sorts of ways, the signatories of the letter feel. Young people are already struggling with a range of mental problems, and this penalty will put even more pressure on them. Voluntary work, student participation, elite sports, administrative work… all of this will be jeopardised. What’s more, subsequent education will become less accessible for students who aren’t well off.

The letter was drafted by the three national student interest groups (JOBmbo, ISO and LSVb), together with umbrella organisation for student associations LKvV. Two other signatories are the main eyecatchers, however.

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JOVD and JSC have also signed the letter. These are the youth wings of political parties VVD and NSC, which will be forming a cabinet with PVV and BBB. JOVD had already voiced criticism of its parent party before. “Politics of going with the flow won’t get us anywhere”, said chair Mauk Bresser at the party convention, on the subject of governing with populist parties.

The other political youth wings that are on board represent opposition parties D66, CDA, Partij voor de Dieren, GroenLinks and PvdA (as the youth branches of the latter two haven’t merged yet). Other signatories of the letter include the National Youth Council and trade unions CNV and FNV Young & United.


The first protest has already been announced. The Dutch Student Union (LSVb) will be on Domplein in Utrecht on Saturday 22 June. The union is more outspoken than the other organisations. President Elisa Weehuizen: “There’s only one thing left to do: take action.”

The fine for study delays is an old idea of the first Rutte cabinet, which was supported in parliament by PVV. Due to the fall of the cabinet, the fine was scrapped at the very last second in September 2012.

This was partly owing to the student protests at the time, LSVb emphasises. “If students unite, the politicians in The Hague won’t be able to ignore us.” The union is calling on students, teachers and parents to come to the protest on 22 June.