At the beginning of April, Universiteitsfonds Limburg/SWOL started a crowdfunding campaign to collect money for students who were not eligible for any of the other schemes, says interim UM spokesperson Fons Elbersen. He emphasised that the Universiteitsfonds (UFL) emergency fund was not the UM’s. The fund – whose chairman is Limburg governor Theo Bovens – traditionally focuses on promoting scientific research at the UM, for which it raises funding from businesses, lower governments and anyone who wants to contribute. The present campaign is exceptional; the fund states on its website that the corona crisis had resulted in “some students from Maastricht University having hardly enough money to pay for the bare necessities of life, such as rent and food.” Their jobs no longer existed and they didn’t apply for government schemes.
The campaign yielded more than 37,500 euro from external donations. “In addition, UFL/SWOL also added other means, while President Martin Paul’s and Vice President Nick Bos’s remunerations from other activities will also be paid into the emergency fund. Normally, this goes to the UM.” So there is still room for new applications.
A total of eighty applications have been received and payments have been made to 55 students. The amounts are loans of a maximum of 1,500 euro, which upon graduation or re-enrolment at the UM will be transferred into a gift. By far most went to foreign students: 90 per cent. There are no plans at the moment for a new campaign, says Elbersen.