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MAASTRICHT. British students who are studying in the Netherlands but who do not officially live here, will have to dig deep into their pockets from January. Because of Brexit they will pay the high ‘institutional tuition fee’ instead of the much lower statutory tuition fee as of 2021. Whether it will be a hard or a soft Brexit makes no difference. For Maastricht this currently concerns about a hundred students.
For a long time, it looked as if the Dutch authorities would allow British students to complete their studies for the regular tuition fees (more than 2,100 euro). Maastricht University “recently received a letter from the minister that stated that students from the United Kingdom (UK) would have to register as residents in the Netherlands if they want to study here for the lower fee”, said President of Maastricht University Martin Paul during a University Council committee meeting last week. This means that they must be registered with a municipality. Because of the new rules, British students who stayed in the UK because of COVID-19, or who are on an exchange visit, or who live in Belgium or Germany, will now have problems. They will have to be registered in the Netherlands before 31 December in order to be eligible to pay the statutory amount.
The institutional tuition fees vary from eight thousand to 32 thousand a year. There are no exact numbers yet, but at the moment “the UM has identified a hundred students,” says spokesperson Fons Elbersen when asked.
Whether there will be a hard or soft Brexit does not matter, explains the spokesperson for the minister. “The rules regarding tuition fees are based on the withdrawal agreement. In principle, it does not matter whether or not there will be agreements about the relationship after 31-12-2020."
Solutions are being sought, Paul said to the University Council. A possible solution is the UM Guesthouse. It has about 270 vacant rooms. But then registration at a Dutch address will have to be finalised by 31 December. That is very soon, says Paul. “The process can take up to four weeks. Therefore, the university is engaged in talks with the municipal authorities to see if things could be accelerated.” In addition, Paul is hoping for a period of leniency for universities so that students can sort things out on time.