Science - June 29, 2006

Changes in education funding laws

The new chair of the national students’ union, LSVb, Irene van den Broek visited the Wageningen counterpart WSO to answer questions from students on the legislation changes in the right to government-funded education. An overview of the most important questions and answers.

Do we need rights to be able to study?
Everyone who has the right qualifications may enrol at a university or university of professional education. That right does not change. But those who have no right to government funded education will have to pay more in the future. Tuition fees have been set at a maximum of three thousand euros for the coming five years. This is double what a student who has a right to government-funded education pays, but fees could rise as high as ten thousand euros per year.

When will the new legislation be introduced?
If the Upper Chamber of the Dutch parliament agrees to the legislation it will be introduced in September 2007. Students enrolled in higher education before this date will get the maximum amount of funding for the programme in which they are studying at that moment. This means it may be advisable to wait with completing your bachelor’s degree. That way you will get all the funding for your bachelor’s – three year plus one year extension – and then will be entitled to another two years plus one year extension for your master’s.

Can I still have another activity while I am studying?
Former state secretary for education Mark Rutte has announced that there will be special ‘profile funds’ for students who do committee or board work. These should be similar to the ‘committee grants system’ (bestuursbeurzensysteem) that Wageningen uses at present. How the university intends to deal with this is not yet known. Students who want to stop studying for a year can de-register and still retain their right to funding.

What does Wageningen University intend to do with the social studies?
This is still not clear. The social studies master’s programmes in Wageningen, such as Management, economics and consumer studies, and International Development Studies are registered as one-year programmes, while they should be two-year programmes like the other Wageningen master’s programmes. At present these students get compensation in the form of a year of extra study finance from the university. / JH

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