News - February 22, 2011

VVD appeals for tuition fee exemption for student executives

If the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) had its way, students would not have to pay any tuition fees during the year in which they serve on a student executive board. They should be allowed to withdraw from studying temporarily, even if they have a board scholarship from their university or applied sciences university.

VVD member of parliament Anne-Wil Lucas wants to know what state secretary Halbe Zijlstra (from the same party) thinks about this, but in principle, she supports the proposal from student organizations for tuition fee exemption when carrying out executive duties. 'Student executives often do not attend classes', says Lucas. 'But they have to pay tuition fees and the nation also pays an average of 4300 euros for each of them. That doesn't sound logical.'
Currently, students with a board scholarship from an education institution have to remain on its register. Lucas wants to end this requirement. 'If it's clear that someone is linked to the institution but only stops temporarily, it's still alright to give the board scholarship.'
If this plan goes through, the year spent on an executive board would not be counted as a study delay, and active student executives would have less to fear from Zijlstra's measures against study-delay students. 'We should not make any exceptions in the study-delay regulation, and we wouldn't with the proposed approach', adds Lucas. 'The law in fact stays the same.' And yet, Lucas remains cautious about giving her full support. She feels that this move should not incur any extra costs for the government. According to student organizations ISO and LkvV, there is nothing to worry about; they assure Lucas that the government would not have to pay any euro more.
The organizations are pleased with Lucas' support. 'It is good that parts of our message have touched base', says Guy Hendrinks of the ISO.