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“Selecting recipients via school grades is rather unfair”

Maxim: Let the best students in high school study for free
 Students who score well (an average grade of 7.5 or higher) during high school receive a scholarship from Tilburg University. It’s a matter of PR: this way the university hopes to improve its reputation. With the money 65 students can pay their tuition fees for a maximum of two years – if they don’t receive negative binding study advice after the first year. Is this a good way to attract students?
“It’s a sales pitch – I would not be attracted by it. Besides, if only 2 or 3% of students can obtain these scholarships then the chance is rather small that you’d get one yourself”, says Kimberly Koch, third-year student of International Business. “For me the quality of the programme, the ranking of the university and the overall atmosphere are much more important in choosing a programme than this incentive. I visited open days and talked to people who were already studying here.” Furthermore: “A lot of students work really hard and still only score a 6 average. With this incentive you favour those who don’t have to work so hard for their studies and therefore don’t deserve it as much as others.”
Bettina Gerhard, student of European Studies (ES), is not in favour of this particular ‘reward system’: “If you have good grades at high school, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll do well in your studies. Selecting recipients via school grades is rather unfair; a lot of people don’t have to work really hard in high school to get good grades. It’s too early a stage.” Her friend and fellow ES student, Katharina Eichinger,is also sceptical about the relevance of some high school courses: “How relevant is it for your university studies that you do well in sports?”
Nevertheless, the two students think rewards as such are “not bad”: “Like the 3% of UM students who receive their tuition fees back after the first year. Those people are motivated anyway, but it’s just a nice extra.” But a scholarship for the best students at high school, they think, will not attract more students: “Money will not change a lot in attracting students. Students choose a programme because of its content and language, and the location and reputation of the university.”

 

Irene Smeets

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