Wageningen University gets as much funding as the technical universities, claims a government report that compares the funding of teaching by the ministries of Economic Affairs and Education. But that was in 2012, retorts Executive Board member Tijs Breukink. Since then, the university’s direct government funding has lagged behind.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs provided funding per student of 7,300 euros in 2014, comparable to the amount of just over 7,300 euros that the other universities received on average from the Ministry of Education, according to the government report drawn up by consultancy fi rm Panteia. Ten years ago, Wageningen University was getting 2000 euros per student more than the average for other universities. However student numbers have doubled over the past ten years at Wageningen while funding has barely grown at all. As a result, funding per student is now about level with the average.
The study of education funding was announced last year by the Cabinet after directors in the ‘green’ higher education sector (food, agriculture and nature) claimed that green education was getting less funding than other education institutions. Last year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs cut funding for green education. Following this, Panteia calculated the education funding from the two ministries over the past ten years. These calculations ought to reveal whether Wageningen University is suffering from the ‘two percent rule’, which states that direct government funding for Wageningen cannot increase by more than two percent a year.
Education Minister Jet Bussemaker and State Secretary Sharon Dijksma say the report shows no need to revise education funding by the Ministry van Economic Affairs. Wageningen University board member Tijs Breukink does see reason to abolish the two percent rule. If you compare Wageningen University with the technical universities, you see that teaching funding was about the same in 2012, says Breukink. ‘But unfortunately the report doesn’t cover the years after that, when the technical universities got extra money while Wageningen lagged behind. That is why we don’t agree with the conclusion that the funding for our university was fine in 2014, because that is not what the facts show.’