Student - February 21, 2012

Tuition fee exemption for student executives likely

Students who hold a fulltime executive position for a year may soon be exempted from paying tuition fees, if the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament has its say. These students will then be less hit by the tardy student fine. Educational institutions may get a free hand to decide.

Students who devote themselves fulltime for a year to serve in a student association or council, or to a top sport, and who are unable to attend courses at the same time, should be allowed to de-register with their applied sciences university or university. By signing a contract with their institution declaring that they will resume their scheduled study after a year, they could retain their right to a management scholarship from their institution's profileringsfond (profiling fund) and to have student accommodation.
The plan for 'tuition fee exemption for executives' had been presented earlier by members of parliament Anne-Wil Lucas (VVD) and Boris van der Ham (D66), but state secretary Zijlstra was not convinced. The two MPs declared their intention to follow this through and have now submitted an amendment to the Lower House to push it through legally during the mention of the 'studying is investing' bill. It appeared that a majority of the House had already indicated their support last year.
However, it is not certain whether every Dutch student will be able to benefit from this regulation in the future. Universities and applied sciences universities could decide for themselves whether to implement the regulation and which positions are eligible. 'Universities which support an active student life could take full advantage of this option,' say Lucas and Van der Ham in a press release.
Since the implementation of the tardy student fine, students are given only one extra year to complete their study, after which they have to pay three thousand euros extra in tuition fees. An executive year is now included in the duration of study, and that's discouraging, say VVD and D66. Student organizations ISO and LKvV agree, but are disappointed that the regulation does not provide for a loan from DUO. They have asked D66 and VVD to review this because a scholarship from the profileringsfonds is often not enough to cover the costs of living.

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