The three main Dutch student organisation went to court on Monday with the aim of changing government plan to introduce a fine for those students who stay behind in their study.
According to the government proposal, which has already being voted by the majority of the Senate and the Tweede Kamer, students who take too long to complete the degree are to pay €3,000 fine every extra study year they take to complete their Bachelor.
This law would be retroactive: the fine would also apply to students who are already enrolled in University and have accumulated a delay. This point in particular has angered the student organisations ISO, LSVb and LKvV, who have hired Tom Barkhuysen from the Stibbe law firm to represent them. “The rules change during the game” he said, adding that it is not fair that the “baby-boomers political generation of The Hague, who have taken a long time to achieve their degree” now enforce such pressure on students.
Student organisations also worry that this fine will create a split in society, allowing extra time to those who can afford it. Also, as many students work while they are enrolled in University to pay for their fees and rent, this measure could represent an extra financial blow for those who are already in constrained financial situations.
As of now, students who take longer than four years to complete their studies, which are usually three years long, are subjected to a fine, which consists of repaying their studiefinanciering, a monthly government grant that the students do not have to pay back if they complete their studies within four year.
This proposal is not the only one made regarding money and Dutch University. A new law is set to make international students (both EU and non-EU) work longer hours in order to get financial benefits. As of now, international students need to have a working contract of 8 hours a week (32 per month) in order to receive grants and being entitled to a student transportation card. With the new law, they will have to work 14 hours a week in order to be granted such benefits.
Given the shortages of student jobs which do not require fluent knowledge of the Dutch language, the difficulties involved in keeping up a good average, a 14 hours job and some sort of social life, perspective international students may have to reconsider their going Dutch dreams.