News - September 17, 2009

No education cuts yet

The cabinet will have to make drastic cuts, but won't be making decisions on where to cut until next year. There are even a few nice surprises in this year's education budget.

But in 2010, higher education cannot be spared, says the cabinet, which wants to make a start on reducing the escalating national debt. Tough decisions will be taken next year when various working groups identify where the government can save twenty percent. Apparently even such sacred cows as mortgage rebates and orders for joint strike fighter plans will be open to question.
Subsidiary grants
From next year the subsidiary grant for first year students will no longer come free, from five months after the start of their course. Up to now, the first year grant was a present to students, even if they didn't graduate in the end. This 'saving' adds up to 52 million euros by 2013, and dwindles after that. It was leaked earlier that student grants will not go up in 2011 and 2012, in spite of inflation.  
A further measure will reduce support for students from countries outside the European Economic Area, such as China or America.  From 2015, the cabinet plans to save 21.8 euros on this support, but an exception will be made for students from developing countries.
Immigrant students
In other areas new scope is created by the plans. There's a slightly bigger budget for improving the results of immigrant students from non-western backgrounds. This budget will go up from 10.3 million euros last year to 12.8 million euros. There is also a bit more funding for knowledge networks and professorships in applied science (HBO) institutions. Budgets for this go up from 53 million euros last year to 64.7 million in 2010 and 2011, after which a further rise is planned to 69.5 million euros.
Six thousand euros
Expenditure per student comes to about six thousand euros per university student and 6200 euros per year for applied sciences students, according to the budget. This is more than projected in the previous budget, when the amount for the coming years stayed at 5800 per student. But the universities do not agree with the OCW calculations anyway. They claim that the budget per student has been shrinking for years, if you leave the costs of expensive medical students out of the account. / HOP, Bas Belleman