Coalition agreement: numerus fixus for foreign students

As expected, the new coalition government is going to curb the influx of foreign students. “Study migration will become more selective through more courses in Dutch, a numerus fixus for foreign students, restriction to obtaining a basic scholarship and increase in tuition fees for non-EU students.”

photo Tweede Kamer

Almost 6 months after the parliament elections, PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB yesterday reached a coalition agreement for a new government policy. In it, the parties promise tax cuts, a new governance culture and a strict asylum policy. Part of a tightened asylum policy is a restriction on student migration. 

Informateurs Elbert Dijkgraaf and Richard van Zwol handed the final report to parliament chairman Martin Bosma (see photo).


What the restriction on study migration exactly means for the TU/e is not yet clear, because exceptions are made for 'studies where there are labor market shortages'. In the high-tech industry in the Eindhoven region, there are large labor market shortages. So that could be reason to make an exception, but the new government is not only looking at the labor market, but also looks at the pressure on the housing market and healthcare.

“Knowledge and study migration is important for the Dutch economy, but the scale must be in proportion to what municipalities, education, care and housing can bear,” according to the coalition agreement. Exceptions will be made “taking local circumstances into account (the bigger the problems, the more restrictions).” So whether that exception will be made is uncertain, because in the Eindhoven region, for example, it is difficult for first-time buyers to find a home. 


Furthermore, study migration will be discouraged by offering more courses in Dutch.There will also be a numerus fixus for foreign students and restrictions on obtaining a basic scholarship. Tuition fees for non-EU students will also increase.

The coalition agreement also contains a warning about knowledge theft. “The Netherlands should not be naive about state actors sending people here or directing them here for espionage. Measures are being taken to protect our knowledge.”

Long-term study penalty

The outline agreement also states that the so called 'long-study fine' will return. Students who need extra time for their bachelor's and master's degrees must pay an additional three thousand euros in tuition fees.This will eventually generate 280 million, the parties estimate. Students will also no longer receive an allowance for public transport if they study abroad.

The 'unlucky students' (in Dutch: pechstudenten) will receive a one-time extra allowance. The scholarship will be maintained. Just like the binding study advice and selection at the gate, which remains “fully possible".

Science cuts

The four political parties also want to take austerity measures on science (a budget cut of 215 million euro per year). They want to cancel funding for national sector plans, in which universities make agreements with each other about their education and research. The Research and Science Fund must cut 1.1 billion euros in the coming years. Finally, the National Growth Fund, intended to stimulate innovation around technology, care, education and the energy transition, will be phased out.

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