The Dutch government is to set up a new grants programme for students from outside the EU. The ministry of education will earmark twenty million euros a year for the programme. Until now institutions received funds for all non-EU students registered, but starting in 2006 a maximum will be introduced.
Rutte expects that setting a ceiling on numbers will improve the quality of new recruits. It will no longer be profitable to attract as many foreign students as possible, regardless of their academic level.
Rutte has received widespread support for the proposal. Both the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) and the HBO-raad (Association of Universities of Professional Education) have largely approved the letter. Nuffic (Netherlands Organization for international cooperation in higher education) calls it ‘a very good letter’. The national student union LSVb is not satisfied however. The students refer to a lack of hard policy measures, and regret that Rutte only wants to attract the best foreign students. This will be at the cost of the average students, the ones that need the grants most, according to the LSVb. / HOP, SvO