Students ‘screwed over’

The abolition of the basic grant has not actually resulted in more investments in higher education, according to the Interurban Student Consultation (ISO) and the National Student Union (LSVb). According to the two groups, that means that the promise made to students has been broken.
By Rob Siebelink / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

On Monday, the two student organisations sent a letter to the VVD, D66, CDA, and GroenLinks, the political parties working on the formation.

They say that the abolition of the basic grant has cost many students a lot of money. ‘However, there was one bright spot. The yield would be invested in improving the quality of education, which made the whole thing look like a fair deal. But now this particular deal looks like it might not go through. It’s beginning to look like political profiteering.’


The ISO and LSVb are basing their comments on the multi-annual budgets of the ministries of Education, Culture & Science and Economics. These allegedly say that even in the best case scenario, the national contribution for each research university student will decrease.

In the year 2000, this contribution was 19,900 euros per student per year. In 2025, it will be 14,300 euros. Universities of applied sciences will suffer a slightly less severe decrease, but they are not demonstrably improving either, say ISO and LSVb.

ISO president Jan Sinnige: ‘We feel screwed over. They promised us an investment and now students are once again left empty-handed.’ According to LSVb president Jarmo Berkhout students are being cut back on ‘again and again’: ‘Tuition fees are increased and the basic grant is taken away. It’s outrageous that students don’t get anything in return for these sacrifices.’

Nobel Prize winners

The letter says that the Netherlands wants to be first but refuses to pay for it. ‘We have to be at the top of knowledge-based economies, we have to produce Nobel Prize winners, attract the best international student talents, etcetera. But the political parties seem to forget that all this takes investment. But these investments have failed to materialise.’

That is why in the letter, the students emphasise that the basic grant funds should stay in higher education, and that extra investments are needed. The letter has been co-signed by various student organisations, from the overarching student associations to Student Sport Netherlands.

Sinnige: ‘All the Dutch students support our message. This needs to end. After all these years of cutbacks, we shouldn’t be the victim again.’


On 11 April, the LSVb is organising a demonstration to protest the educational cost-cutting near the Hofvijver in The Hague. They will be opening the Museum of Educational Cost-Cutting to show that education and students have been cut back on too much over the past years.


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