MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht Faculty of Law is going to work together with the University of Aruba. From the next academic year, they hope to welcome the first students for the double degree programme, an American Specialisation, within the existing master’s programme of International and European Tax Law. Eventually, the participants will receive two diplomas (an Aruban and a Dutch one).
According to master’s programme director Anouk Bollen, there is a need in the Caribbean for a tax programme in European and International Tax Law. The University of Aruba has had plans for a Tax master’s programme for some time.
Because this new programme largely compares to the content of the existing master’s, there is no need to apply for a separate accreditation, Bollen explained in the latest faculty council meeting.
Maastricht is offering six blocks, Aruba two blocks. Sjoerd Claessens, chairman of the faculty council and senior lecturer, has doubts about the unequal contribution of ECTS. “Is Aruba offering a diploma based on 12 ECTS?” Bollen confirms this: “We stand behind this, we are involved in each other’s subjects.”
One would expect that the specialisation would be run partly in Maastricht and partly in Aruba, but it will mainly be in the latter. Bonaire, a special municipality within the Netherlands, could be an option for a block period of eight weeks (15 ECTS) because Dutch policy states that 25 per cent of a Dutch study programme must be taken in the Netherlands. At the moment, this matter is being discussed with the Ministry of Education.
In the first three years, the organisers hope to welcome eleven or twelve foreign students who will each pay tuition fees of 17,500 dollars. In reply to the question from a student council member whether they were also expecting Maastricht students, Bollen answers that they are not focusing in that direction. “The programme is meant in particular for students from the Caribbean and Latin American countries, such as Columbia, Venezuela and Chile.”
The University of Aruba has four faculties, one of which is the Faculty of Law. According to EP-Nuffic (organisation for international collaboration in higher education), the level is comparable to that of university education in the Netherlands. The three other faculties, including Financial Economics, reach the level higher professional education in the Netherlands.