News - November 17, 2011

Long-term students' fine even higher

Students taking a long time to get a degree will not be paying 3,000 euros extra next academic year, but 3,063 euros. Students are hoping to get the whole amount scrapped through legal proceedings.

Student organizations ISO, LSBv and LKVV have filed a legal petition with the help of the solicitors' firm Stibbe.' They hope that the court will rule against the extra tuition fees for long-term students.
When preparing the petition, ISO chair Sebastiaan Hameleers discovered that the planned fees for long-term students are higher than the amount Zijlstra had promised right from the start. This is because tuition fees are adjusted to inflation every year, and so will the long-term students' fine be. The difference is 63 euros.
To Hameleers, the worst thing about it is that Zijlstra refuses to talk of a fine, but calls the charge 'raised tuition fees'. 'In principle, tuition fees are educational spending and are tax-deductible, but an exception is made for the slow students arrangement: the extra charge is not tax-deductible. So then surely it's clear that this is a fine?'
Student organizations have many more arguments of this ilk up their sleeves. At their behest, solicitors' firm Stibbe wrote a report earlier this year outlining the legal ins and outs of the measure. They said the new law violates the principle of legal security and discriminates against long-term students.

If it really constitutes a fine, as Hameleers says it does, then the measures against long-term students are in breach of the European Treaty on Human Rights, which states that people cannot be sentenced retrospectively for something that was not punishable when they did it. The long-term students' fine is to be imposed on students whose extra time started before the law was adopted.