News - April 24, 2008

Knowledge grants not until 2009

The introduction of the knowledge grants system for students from outside the European Union has been postponed for a year, until 2009, Secretary of state for education Bruno Bruins announced last week.

Introduction of the grants was planned for 2008, but this has become impossible as the introduction of the right to government funded education (leerrechten) has been delayed. Under the new arrangements, the money that universities and polytechnics receive for their non-EU students will be placed in special funds, which can be used to compensate the foreigners for the much higher tuition fees they have to pay.

Tuition fees for non-EU students were deregulated in 2004, when the secretary for education Mark Rutte made a proposal to withdraw compensation for this group. The Dutch parliament rejected this, but gave the green light for increasing tuition fees in expectation of a new grants system.

Although institutions still receive compensation, some have already started charging non-EU students higher tuition fees. The University of Maastricht for example charges fees of 8,000 euros to bachelor students and 11,500 euros to master's students. Tuition fees are expected to rise even further when the system is introduced. No dates have been finalised yet.