News - December 3, 2015

Bussemaker: ‘No tuition fees for student board member’

Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

Soon students will no longer have to pay tuition fees if they choose to do a full-time board year. Education minister Bussemaker is going to ensure this, she said last night to parliament.

Photo: Several Wageningen student boards

The parliament was actually debating on democratising higher education, but during the debate CDA- member of parliament Michel Rog brought up an old wish. Have students not pay tuition fees when they are doing a board year, he suggested.

For years students have pleaded for ‘tuition free board year’. Whoever leads a large student association or is part of the student council, usually does not follow education and they are performing useful work: why should such a student then also pay tuition fee?

Currently it is possible for student board members to formally deregister, so that they do not owe tuition fee. They usually are able to receive a compensation from their institution, but cannot loan money from Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs and also lose the public transport card
(ov-studentenkaart). This makes a board year expensive.

‘Also for students of which the parents cannot contribute as much should be able to do a board year’, minister Bussemaker considered. That is why she wanted to make sure that students can stay enrolled at their educational institute without paying tuition.

Rog was happy with this, but did he understand the minister correctly? Does she want to make this possible for everyone, or only for students that receive little to no financial contribution from their parents.

The minister Bussemaker did not want to anticipate on that yet. She will come back on it during the treatment of a legislative proposal that the participation in higher education must be improved.

The Wageningen student council  had previously also pleaded for ‘tuition free studying’. Meanwhile, the approach has been to receive an extra financial compensation from the university for a board year.