MAASTRICHT.As of 1 September 2015, the basic study grant will be abolished. Dutch students and foreign students who work at least fourteen hours a week in the Netherlands, run the risk of losing out on at least five thousand euro (those living at home) and up to thirteen thousand euro (those living away from home) over a period of four years.
Every student – including foreign students who are entitled to a grant in the present system – can apply for a loan (the minister refers to it as a “study advance”). This loan must be repaid within 35 years. The amount of the repayment will depend on a person’s income: between 1 and 4 per cent of his or her salary. Those who earn under the minimum wage, need not make any repayments.
The complementary grant will continue to exist for students whose parents earn less than 46 thousand euro: this concerns a maximum of 365 euro per month. The OV-jaarkaart (travel pass for free transportation by train and bus during the weekend or during the week) will not be abolished, but will most likely be adapted: less travelling during peak hours, more travelling during off-peak hours.
Bettina Geiling, a German first-year student of Health Sciences, says that it is difficult to qualify for a basic grant. She is currently involved in the appropriate procedure, which she expects to be completed within a few weeks. If she continues to work at least fourteen hours a week, she will keep her basic grant until the end of her bachelor’s. In the master’s phase, she will come under the new system: the loan system. Geiling is not against borrowing, even if it means that she will have to continue working fourteen hours a week during her master’s. Not easy, but: “I would be ready to take the challenge to work at least fourteen hours and do my master’s for more than a hundred per cent.”