Redistribution of government funding will cost the RUG 9 million euro

The RUG’s budget will be cut by nine million euro, which will be redistributed to other Dutch universities, according to the Van Rijn committee report published on Wednesday morning.
By Giulia Fabrizi / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

In October 2018, education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66) instructed the Van Rijn committee to investigate the funding of Dutch higher education. There was one condition: no extra funding would be made available, so universities had to make do with their existing budgets.

The committee’s final advice is clear: if we want Dutch higher education to survive, the money has to be redistributed.


According to the committee, the government has consider four pillars when redistributing the money:

  • more transparency about the costs and quality of education
  • decreasing competition and increasing collaboration between institutes
  • focusing on the science and technical faculties
  • improving matching between students and programmes to prevent dropouts

The committee proposes changing the remuneration per student to lessen the incentive to attract as many students as possible. They also want to spend more on the science and technical faculties to bridge the gap with the labour market.


To make the redistribution possible, the RUG will have to return 2.22 percent of their annual government earnings over a period of two years. On Wednesday morning, the RUG said this proposal is ‘unacceptable’. ‘This proposed shift to benefit science and technology is to the detriment of the arts, gamma sciences, and medical sciences.’

‘If we follow the committee’s advice exactly, we’d have a dramatic inter-faculty shift of funds in 2020’, says rector magnificus Elmer Sterken. ‘Should she decide to follow the committee’s advice, the RUG calls upon the minister to make extra funds available to compensate for the damage the proposed measures would cause.’

The Lower House will discuss the report and how to implement a definitive proposal on July 1.


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