Student hopes to lower tuition fees with survey
So says Matilde Faria, third-year student of international relations and international organization. ‘Many of my friends depend on their jobs and DUO to pay for university. Moreover, European students don’t get money from DUO without a job. Most of them are struggling, because if they can’t pay for their semester, they can’t finish their studies’, she says.
On Tuesday, Matilde published a survey online for Groningen students at both the UG and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. She hopes to provide insight into how the pandemic affects students.
In the survey, she is not only asking whether people are in favour of lowered tuition fees, but rather how students are paying for university and if they’re missing out on any income because of the pandemic, because they can’t work or because DUO is paying them less. Nearly sixty students filled out the survey in the first hour.
‘I want to get a representative number of students involved’, she explains. ‘What I saw from the early answers is that students feel they aren’t getting what they’re paying for with online education.’
According to Matilde, students only have access to approximately half the facilities from before the pandemic. That’s partially due to education moving online, but also because physical facilities like printers or the UB aren’t available right now.
Matilde understands the situation and sympathises with lecturers who are working hard to provide online education. But she says the quality of education isn’t the same, which is why it’s unfair to ask students to pay the full amount for it.
‘A fair amount would be to lower tuition fees by half’, she says. ‘What I would like to achieve is to lower the tuition fees in a way that serves both the students as well as the university.’
If she receives enough responses for the survey to be representative, she will present its results to the board of directors. She knows that tuition fees in the Netherlands are determined by law, but she hopes it can be a first step towards lobbying in The Hague. ‘I would never want to undermine anyone’s work, but I do think there should be a better eye for what is needed.’