'New government's policy is a disincentive for students'


In the new government's “outline agreement,” long-time students are the ones to suffer. Students who exceed the nominal study time by more than a year will start paying a fine of 3,000 euros per year. This has major negative consequences.

The Netherlands is begging for highly educated (technical) talent. But tuition fees for “long-time students” will be increased, reports the new coalition agreement: “Tuition fees will be increased by 3,000 euros for full-time students who overstay their bachelor's or master's degree. Institutions will receive 3,000 euros less government funding per long-time student. The budgetary yield assumes implementation in the academic year 2026/2027.”

The implementation of this policy of the new government of PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB will actively discourage students from broadening and developing their skills during their time in university. The potential impact is huge. First, choosing a labor-intensive study is discouraged. To illustrate: Only 51 percent of TU/e physics students get their bachelor's degree within 4 years. So the remaining 49 percent will have to pay extra. If you are a BMT student, 44 percent will have to pay extra and for EE even 66 percent.

The coalition parties seem to view educational institutions as a factory from which as many undifferentiated students as possible need to be pumped out, like chickens in a battery cage. Here, the quality of the 'produced' labor force is seen as secondary.

A full-time board year at a student union, sorority or student team becomes an expensive endeavor. This is no longer an option for many because of the long study penalty. This will put many student organizations in trouble and with them the social and innovative culture within the institutions.

The new policy is very annoying for students who are delayed due to physical or mental problems. Is it really intended to financially penalize students who are in trouble? 

The long-study fine is also not an encouragement to take extra subjects or add minors/internships that are not in the regular program. This while it pays off to distinguish yourself from your fellow students in the job market.

This all seems very undesirable for the position of the Netherlands in the field of innovative education. It is also at odds with intended plans such as Project Beethoven, which aims to strengthen the knowledge position around the high-tech industry in Eindhoven. The new government does invest in the better conditions for companies, but discourages students to develop themselves. 

This measure should eventually generate 280 million euros per year for the exchequer. Cheap will prove expensive. 

Nick Hol studies Applied Physics at TU/e

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