ISO: ‘No extra costs’

At many universities, students often wrongfully have to pay additional costs on top of their tuition fees, the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) says.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Alain Reniers

Minister Jet Bussemaker has prohibited universities from charging for things like certificates, door cards, study guides or signing up for exams. Nevertheless, ISO says that some institutions still do.

‘A number of universities of applied sciences and research universities don’t care about what the minister says. Students fall victim and often bend over backwards for additional study materials or field trips. This has to stop: not tomorrow, but today,’ ISO chairman Jan Sinnige says. The student organisation says they received about 100 reports of students who wrongfully had to pay additional costs.

That goes for students who are charged 35 euros for a management game or 200 euros in the first year for a mandatory camp, study materials and a library card, for example. ‘This wouldn’t be an issue if a free alternative was made available and if the students were informed of this, but this is not the case,’ Gabriël van Rosmalen of the Landelijk Studenten Rechtsbureau (LSR) says.


ISO and LSR are joining forces to deal with the ‘malpractices of additional costs’. The LSR is threatening to go to court with the institutions who do not react to complaints. ‘We always attempt to enter into mutual deliberation first to come to a solution. If there is no reaction, then we are left with no choice but to meet each other in court,’ Van Rosmalen says.

Sinnige wants to discuss the matter on Wednesday during a meeting with minister Bussemaker. ‘We know she’s already fought against this together with us, so she needs to give a stern talking to all universities that are out of line,’ he says.

In 2014, ISO drew up a black book containing the various additional costs some universities charge. At the time, Bussemaker wrote a letter to the institutions stating that they are not allowed to charge these costs. ‘This led to a decrease (of complaints, ed.) but that appears to have been temporary,’ Sinnige says.



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