Student - September 17, 2009

'Students will have to tighten their belts too'

The government wants to freeze student grants. But what makes Henno Horssen of the student organization ISO cross is the cabinet's refusal to invest in the quality of higher education.

Horssen: 'We don't want to be the cheapest ever graduate generation'.
'We want a roadmap to excellence, not a roadmap to average', explains Henno Horssen of the national student body, the ISO, which Horssen has taken a year off his studies at Van Hall Larenstein to chair. This cabinet wants to see fifty percent of the Dutch population getting a higher education. Plasterk is talking about the biggest ever graduate generation. We don't want to be the cheapest ever graduate generation' , Horssen stresses.
The government's planned cuts are angering the student unions. But it is not so much the freezing of student grants that worries the ISO as the fact that the government does not intended the grant to keep pace with inflation over the next two years. In recent years the size of the grant has risen faster than the course fees. If the plans go head, it will cost no more to study than it did in 2005, calculates the higher education press bureau (HOP).
We realize that students will have to tighten their belts too during this crisis. And we'd prefer this measure, with financial consequences you can keep track of', says Horssen. The ISO is especially irked by the government's lack of vision and courage. According to reports by the OESO, the Netherlands scores are about average when it comes to the quality of our higher education', says Horssen.  The cabinet could opt to let the national debt go up in order to invest in education, he suggests. 'Our generation can soon be earning that money back many times over.'