Nieuws - 14 april 2011

'Fine for tardy students postponed by a year'

The news site RTL Nieuws reports that the fine for students taking too long with their studies is being postponed by a year. Opponents to the Cabinet's measure were delighted with the news and they are optimistic about the future: 'a positive first step.'

RTL Nieuws announced Wednesday afternoon that, according to sources in The Hague, the fine for students taking too long with their studies is being postponed by a year. State Secretary Zijlstra was due to send a letter to the Lower House on Wednesday.
The SGP (a Protestant political party) already announced last week that it thought the measure should be postponed by a year. On Tuesday the party submitted an amendment to that effect. The small Calvinist party is important to the coalition, which does not have a majority in the Upper House. A spokesperson does not know yet whether the Cabinet really will be postponing the measure for a year but 'it would be good if it was the case'.
The Cabinet wants students to pay three thousand euros extra in tuition fees if they exceed the nominal time for their Bachelor's or Master's degree by more than a year. Students and opposition parties are highly critical of the measure, in particular because current students will have to pay the higher tuition fees although they could not have taken this into account in their earlier years at university.
'Sixty thousand students will not have to pay three thousand euros extra in tuition fees next year', says Guy Hendricks of the Dutch National Students Association with satisfaction. 'The protesting students in The Hague have had more effect than many people expected. We are not there yet but this is a step in the right direction.'
'Good news, because as they say - procrastination leads to cancellation', is the reaction of Jasper van Dijk, Member of Parliament for the Socialist Party. 'I will certainly be drinking a glass of champagne to this. But we are not there yet. Students need to keep up the pressure and do everything to get the entire measure dropped.' Van Dijk promised the protesting students on Tuesday that the measure would not go through. He predicted that it would be rejected by the Upper House, if not the Lower House.
D66 (a liberal party) also talks of a 'positive first step' but Member of Parliament Boris van der Ham says the postponement does not solve the problem of the measure's injustice. 'The current batch of students will still have to pay the fine for taking too long with their studies, the only difference is that it will happen a year later.' He will be submitting an amendment to spare all the current students. 'It is not very likely but we may get a majority for it.'