Student - April 23, 2012

Cabinet had intended to scrap basic student grant


VVD, CDA and PVV had intended to abolish the basic Bachelor's and Master's student grants completely. The 'slow student' fine would be dropped in 2014. These measures are apparently stated in a document which RTL Nieuws got hold of.

Plans from the Catshuis collapsed on Saturday when the PVV rejected the agreement at the eleventh hour. The Freedom Party of Geert Wilders saw nothing in the budget cuts designed by the cabinet to lower the deficit to below 3 percent.
One of the cabinet's plans was to completely abolish the basic student grant for Master's and Bachelor's students, and to implement a loan instead. This would result in savings of 20 million euros in 2014 and 25 million euros in 2015. In the long run, 690 million euros would be saved annually.
In return, the slow student fine would be dropped in 2014. That would cost the government 393 million euros each year in time to come, bringing the total savings in higher education down to 297 million euros.
Prime Minister Rutte is expected to tender his resignation and bring in a caretaker government. In anticipation of this move, the debates scheduled for today in the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament have been postponed 'until further notice'. This also applies to a debate with state secretary Halbe Zijlstra concerning the implementation of the loan in the Master's phase. This has been postponed, following a request from the SP, GL, PvdA, D66 and PVV. Jesse Klaver, the education expert of GroenLinks, says on Twitter that the theme should also be declared controversial. This means that the caretaker cabinet would not be able to finalize anything before the elections. The Netherlands has to tell the European Union this week how it intends to lower its budget deficit to below 3 percent. Formally, the Rutte cabinet is already a minority coalition. Caretaker government or not, it can still try to get some of the cost-cutting measures through parliament.
It seems that 'slow' part-time students would not be placed at a disadvantage by the fall of the cabinet. The proposal that they can appeal to the 'profileringfonds' (profiling funds) of applied sciences universities and universities up to 2017 - unanimously supported by the lower house - can perhaps still be implemented by a ministerial order.