College tuition fees partly refunded for belated graduates

Despite the corona crisis, students don’t have the tendency to lend more money from the ‘Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs’, also known as DUO. However, the Minister of Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven, makes 200 million euros available to help students that are almost graduating during this corona crisis. They will get back an amount of 535 euros that has been paid as college tuition fees.

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Students who will graduate in the period between September 2020 and January 2021, will receive a refund that corresponds with three months of college tuition. For university and higher vocational education students, this comes down to roughly 535 euros. The ministry assumes that students would have graduated sooner if there wasn’t a pandemic. This won’t be determined for every single student: dawdlers are therefore lucky.

Supplementary grant

The cabinet also looked at students with a supplementary grant and/or the regular student loan. If they lose their eligibility for this grant in the months of July, August or September, they will receive compensations. As for Dutch HBO and university students, this will be a once-off amount of 1.500 euros. Minister Van Engelshoven believes that other students will be able to catch up with their study delays during the remainder of their education. She mentioned this in a debate at the House of Representatives, two weeks ago. The cabinet takes a more ‘general measure’ for a group of students, without actually examining who’s affected by this crisis and who’s not. This makes it easier to execute the measure.

The Minister also stated that students, who got sick during the crisis, will be eligible to receive a grant from their university or college of higher vocational education. In order to receive this, they can appeal to the so-called ‘Student Financial Support’. This also counts for students who provide informal care or students who are in other exceptional circumstances

Peace and silence at DUO

The Ministry of Education realizes that many students may lose their jobs, resulting in a monthly income difference of 400 to 500 euros. DUO will therefore extend their student loans if students get into financial troubles.

But students haven actually developed the tendency to do so. In fact, DUO wires less money than prior to the corona-crisis. The total amount of student loans decreased from 218 million euros to 214 million euros throughout February, March and April of this year. Additionally, less students apply for student loans. “In the period between March 16th and April 22nd, there were approximately 114 first-time requests for student loans on a daily basis”, states the Minister, responding to questions from GroenLinks, “Contrary to an average of 165 first-time requests on a daily basis in February.”

As for now, there doesn’t seem to be a run on student loans. Maybe this coincides with the fact that many parents support their kids during this crisis: 41 percent of the students that attend higher vocational education or university, have parents whose income is twice or three times above average. This in contrast to ‘just’ 23 percent in secondary education. It is, however, remarkable that students with rich parents lend more (6,864 euros) than students with poor parents (5,300 euros on a yearly basis).

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