The Dutch Cabinet discovered last spring that the number of higher education students taking too long with their studies was not sixty thousand but seventy two thousand.
In the long run, the additional tardy students will mean more money for the Cabinet: ultimately around 23 million euros a year. This will partly make up for the postponement of the tardy students measure: the Cabinet really wanted the students who are behind with their studies to start paying the extra fees as of the coming academic year, but the SGP (a Protestant political party and the unofficial coalition supporting party) wanted to give current students a bit more time.
The figures can be found in State Secretary Zijlstra's answers to questions the Upper House asked about his act raising tuition fees for students who take too long. The senators of the Upper House had other questions as well.
The CDA (Christian Democrats), one of the coalition parties, wanted to know students if taking a Master's degree in a science or technical subject could be allowed an extension. After all, their studies are more difficult and so they would be hit harder by the measure than students taking a degree in the humanities or social sciences. But Zijlstra denies this. The percentage of tardy students is actually higher than average for Master's degrees in law (15.2 percent), economics (15.8 percent) and language & culture (13.8 percent). On the other hand, the proportion of tardy students in 'tough' subjects such as technology (8.5 percent), healthcare (10.7 percent) and physics (9.0 percent) is below average.
'In other words, the longer the official Master's degree programme, the smaller the percentage of tardy students', says Zijlstra. 'Students are better able to finish the Master's degree programme on time precisely because it takes more years.'
However, he did omit to mention that technology students are more likely to get behind in their Bachelor's degree: as many as 22 percent take too long with their study. The percentage for degrees in law and culture is 19 percent.