Students from Ukraine and Russia who are experiencing financial problems because of the war can apply for an emergency fund from the Delft University Fund. The amount is EUR 1,500 to cover the initial living expenses. “It can be used for things like the daily shopping and travel costs,” says Student Counsellor Ton Valk.
At present, there are 495 Ukrainian and 1,146 Russian students studying at Dutch universities. According to Willem-Rutger van Dijk, a Policy Advisor, there a “few dozen” Ukrainian and Russian students at TU Delft. To date, five students have received the money. There are currently no Belarusian students at TU Delft.
‘Funds from their country have drastically decreased’
Valk explains that the financial problems faced by Ukrainian students are different to those faced by Russian students. “In the case of the Ukrainian students, the funds from their country have drastically decreased or in some cases even stopped altogether because of the war. Their parents may not be earning a salary anymore and are unable to transfer money to their student children. Russian students mostly face problems because the sanctions have frozen their bank accounts.”
The psychological effects of the war also impact the two groups differently. “Ukrainian students are having to deal with huge uncertainties about their futures and are repeatedly in shock seeing the images of the war. They are also worried about their family members that are still in Ukraine.” Russian students are shocked too, says Valk. “They see what Russia is doing to Ukraine in the news here. They can seldom discuss it with their family members in Russia because of the censored images that they get there.”
Last week the Cabinet announced that it would make EUR 2.3 million available for students at universities and universities of applied sciences. The institutions themselves need to estimate how much support their students need. “Universities are currently consulting each other how to best use this money,” says Van Dijk.
Temporary residence permits
The Cabinet also decided to give the Ukrainian student refugee group consisting of current and prospective students a temporary protected residence permit. The current students also retain their study visas. Whether the students will still have to pay the regular tuition fees and whether they qualify for study grants is as yet unknown. At present, as non-EU students they are liable to pay higher tuition fees.
A letter (in Dutch) compiled by the UAF (the foundation for refugee students), universities and universities of applied sciences sent to Minister Dijkgraaf of Education, Culture and Science and Minister Van den Burg of Justice and Security, states that until that decision is taken, the refugee students do not know if they are able to pay to study in the Netherlands. They are pushing for a decision to be taken in ‘the very short term’. ‘High costs should never block refugee students from continuing their studies’, the organisations write.
- Ukrainian and Russian students can apply to their study advisor for financial compensation. They can then refer the student to the student counsellor.