News - September 24, 2015

Board work grant must go up

The Student Council wants the Student Financial Assistance (FOS) for a board year raised from 289 to 370 euros per month. A student cannot manage on less than that. The university has offered a maximum of 320 per month. The Student Council and the Executive Board are at loggerheads on this point. Is the university’s offer generous enough?

Lara Potma, MSc Leisure, Tourism & Environment


‘It is already getting more expensive to be a student, without the basic grant. Instead of higher remuneration for a board job, the Student Council should make a fist for more funding to keep universities accessible for everyone. A board year is an ‘extra’ anyway and the education itself is more important. I think the Student Council can count themselves lucky that the university is making any concessions and is even offering more than the basic grant. There are plenty of ways of gaining formative experience which cost less time and money than a board year. I had a part-time job at AIESEC, for instance, and I went abroad as a way of further developing my capacities.’

Rolf van der Vleugel, BSc Environmental Sciences


‘If it gets difficult to find students willing to take on those board jobs, then the remuneration should go up. I think the university’s off er is good, but at the same time I would urge the Student Council to try for even more money. I’m on the board of the tennis club Walhalla. I haven’t had to have an extension, but I do sacrifice some spare time of course. As a board we get six months of FOS, which we had to divide between fi ve of us. That’s enough for me. My girlfriend is on the basketball association board and they get nothing at all.’

Nienke van der Kolk, MSc Biotechnology


‘I have never done a board year myself. I have come from an applied sciences first degree and it is less of an issue at those universities. I think it’s not a bad idea for the university to facilitate formative experiences like this for students. Students need the chance to contribute to something that is important to them. The amount they are asking for, 370 euros, doesn’t even strike me as extravagant, given that students serving on a board cannot work as well. There is no point in my doing a board year now, but I wouldn’t be put off by the money. Of course I don’t know what other students’ fi nancial situation is like, so I can understand the Student Council aiming high.’

Tobias Elzerman, BSc Biology


‘With the current system being scrapped there is scope for the Student Council to negotiate. It is a shame they haven’t got what they wanted, but once there is an agreement about an amount it often works out in the end. Board work is good for your CV and you learn a lot from it, so there are always people willing to do a board year. It is a conscious choice. The amount the university is now offering, 320 euros, is already more than students were getting at fi rst. Now students get 286 euros and they manage on that don’t they? I got one month’s remuneration for a year’s work when I spent a year on the board of the korfball association. I thought that was very reasonable as we didn’t get anything at first.’

Kinga Corbet, MSc Forest and Nature Management


‘You don’t do a board year for the money but for the experience and because it’s fun. It is a formative experience and that is something the university ought to stimulate. When I was on the board of the study association I got one and a half months’ FOS for six months on the board. That was not at all in proportion to the amount of work I put into it but it was nice to get some remuneration. A board year is not a part-time job. If that is your attitude you should do something else instead. I don’t think 370 euros is an awful lot of money. It wouldn’t put me off but I can imagine why some students would opt to give priority to their studies because they cannot afford the extra time they will need if they take a year off for board work. That would be a pity because everyone should have the opportunity to do it.’

Bas Ooteman, MSc Food Technology, Chair of Wageningen rowing club Argo


‘Both parties have a point if you ask me. I can see why the Student Council doesn’t think 320 euros is enough because everything is more expensive now that students have to take out a loan. The people most affected are those on fulltime boards who have to pay tuition for an extra year. On the other hand the university says the FOS funds only stretch to a certain amount and I get that too. As an association we have budgets too and at some point the money’s finished. I’ve still got a grant myself but if I had to take out a loan it wouldn’t put me off serving on a board. A board year is an investment in yourself, and you can’t put a price tag on that. It is a bootcamp for experience which there aren’t many other ways of getting at our age.’

Photo: Sven Menschel