News - November 29, 2011

Wageningen takes good care of students in need

Wageningen heads the list of top ten universities which give the most financial help to students who take longer to complete their studies because of circumstances beyond their control or spending a year on an executive board. The national students' union LSVb presented this research finding on Monday.

Wageningen University sets aside an average of 302 euros for every student. In comparison, Utrecht University has 33 euros for each student in the so-called 'profileringsfonds' (profiling funds), while Radboud University has 48 euros. These bursaries are meant for students who are chronically ill or disabled. The funds are also for student executives, top sports personalities and talented students from outside Europe who cannot afford to pay the high tuition fees charged by an institution. Each institution may decide for itself how much money it puts into these funds. 
'We feel that such bursaries are very important,' says Liesbeth van der Linden, administrative officer of Education & Research. 'However, these figures paint a somewhat distorted picture. The bursaries are like an umbrella on top of existing measures. One university may have more under this umbrella than another.' 
For example, Wageningen University uses about a quarter of the available two million euros to pay for the two-year MSc programme in Social Sciences. 'Seldom does a university compensate for a shortage in the study grant.' There are also almost 900,000 euros available for scholarships for non-European students.
In addition, the FOS-portion - the financial support for student executives - is relatively high. Van der Linden: 'Wageningen is a small city with a small university. But we have the full range of student organizations: student societies, sport clubs, choirs, study societies. A society in a city such as Utrecht may have more members, but its executive board is just as big and has just as much to do.'
The LSVb study also suggests that applied sciences universities are less generous than universities. Less is put aside, not just for scholarships for student executives, but also to help students to graduate. According to the LSVb, this is because students in applied sciences universities are less aware of the existence of the fund. Van Hall Larenstein is not among the top ten in the LSVb study.