‘Threshold too high’

Students who sit on the board of an association will soon be able to avail themselves of a new arrangement for tuition-free studying. But student party SOG feels the threshold for that arrangement is much too high.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Tuition-free studying was already an option at the RUG, but only if the student temporarily un-enrolled from the university. In the new arrangement, the board members are allowed to remain enrolled, which means they remain eligible for a public transport card and study financing. Student party SOG is happy with this, but they do not think it is enough.

‘In the current proposal, only 10 of the 77 associations included in the graduation fund are able to lay claim to the tuition-free studying arrangement’, says SOG member Marco de Vries.

Only students that qualify for six months worth of board work can make use of the arrangement. According to SOG, that means that the large student associations (such as Dizkartes, Vindicat, and Albertus) and organisations (such as ACLO, KEI, and VIP) do qualify, while smaller study associations such as EBF and Panacea and sports associations like Gyas and GCHC are left out. And that, the student party says, is not fair.

‘The current proposal does not sufficiently take into account the large societies’ administrative burden or the time needed to prepare’, says De Vries. To that end, SOG wants the threshold to be lowered to ensure that students who qualify for five months of board work can also study tuition-free.

This would prevent associations from having to rearrange board months, and it would make sitting on a board more appealing to students, the student party thinks.

Study credits

However, SOG also thinks the demand that students have a nominal track record, i.e. received the requisite 60 study credits in a year, is too strict. The RUG wants to set the bar this high because it has to pay for the tuition-free students itself and because these students are guaranteed to graduate a year later. But SOG wants the requirement lowered to 30 credits.

RUG president Sibrand Poppema said he will have to think it over. ‘Those are some radical proposals. We’re already stretching the legal arrangements pretty far here in Groningen. We have to tread carefully and make sure we don’t do anything illegal.’

The Board of Directors wants to discuss SOG’s proposals during the University Council meeting next month.

Photo: facebook.com/bestuursfoto/


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