THE NETHERLANDS. About mid-way through your studies and already delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak? Too bad, because only students in their final year will be compensated financially. No changes to these plans are expected for the time being. A more elaborate scheme was rejected yesterday by one vote in the House of Representatives.
Since last March, it has been all hands on deck at universities to keep education afloat. Despite their efforts, it appears to be unavoidable that some students will fall behind in their studies as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Minister Van Engelshoven understands that this is a problem. Therefore, students graduating from a university Master’s programme or a university of applied sciences between September 2020 and the end of January 2021, will receive a refund on three months of tuition in the amount of 535 euros.
But why would only last-year students be entitled to this refund, asked PvdA MP Kirsten van den Hul before the summer. She wants the Minister to expand the scheme and tabled a motion for this purpose together with the SP and GroenLinks parties.
There were no results at the time: the votes were tied. For weeks the uncertainty continued, but a new attempt was finally made yesterday.
But this time Van der Hul was also unable to achieve a majority. The motion was narrowly rejected during the roll-call vote with 65 voting for and 66 against. The members of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie coalition parties voted against the motion.
The national student organisations ISO and LSVb also want compensation for all delayed students. According to ISO the number of students with a study delay as a result of the coronavirus crisis has increased by 54,000.
But Minister Van Engelshoven previously stated she cannot simply compensate everyone. Still, there may be a window of opportunity. She will inventory the total study delay and plans to review everything “step by step“, so maybe additional arrangements do not need to be ruled out yet.
HOP, Evelien Flink