Students taking a year out to serve on a board shouldn’t have to pay tuition fees, thinks a majority in the lower house of the Dutch parliament.
The VVD, PvdA and CDA parties tabled an amendment on 21 January to make it possible for students to be exempted from paying tuition fees when they do not take courses for a whole year while serving on a board or committee. The proposal is that students remain registered at their institution during this period, so they still qualify for loans from DUO and for their public transport passes.
The plan does not however include making it mandatory for universities to exempt student board members from tuition fees. Institutions retain the right to decide for themselves the extent to which they collaborate on this. The amendment also states: ‘We do believe that students making use of this possibility must genuinely refrain from taking course, even at other educational institutions. We also emphasize that this is a one-off exemption valid for a maximum of 1 year.’
Education minister Jet Bussemaker, who herself wants to make a year’s exemption from tuition fees possible for student boards, will respond to the amendment in writing. A debate in the House will follow