Tuition fees rise every year in line with inflation. Groceries, clothing, electricity and going to the pub have become more expensive, so tuition fees are going up too. That is how it has been arranged.
Last year, inflation was around 9.4 percent, with peaks of over 14 percent in September and October. In March and April, inflation fell again to 4-5 percent.
So tuition fees are going up from 2,314 euros in September 2023 to 2,532 euros in September 2024. Maybe the ministry will do the calculations slightly differently, but this is roughly where it will end up.
In previous years, tuition fees rose only by tens of euros: between 22 and 71 euros. Disquiet arose in political circles when there was a danger that the tuition fees for 2023/2024 would go up by more than 200 euros. Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf thought that was a bit too much as well. His idea was 50 to 60 euros, he told the House of Representatives.
In the end, the rise was 105 euros. This was because Dijkgraaf changed the regulation so as to make tuition fees less sensitive to highs and lows in inflation. Previously, the Ministry looked at the rate of inflation in April; now it considers the inflation rate over a whole year, from May to April.
Statistics Netherlands itself takes the view that inflation has been overestimated recently and is altering its calculation method as of June. But that does not affect the students yet. The old figures will not be revised, the statisticians say.
The Ministry took no action last year on the information that Statistics Netherlands was going to change its method. It came too late, was Dijkgraaf’s response last autumn to written questions from CDA and Volt. That view is unlikely to have changed today.
No halving of tuition fees
Furthermore, the halving of tuition fees for first-time students and for second-year students in teacher training programmes will be scrapped from September 2024. This is being done partly to be able to increase the basic student grant and the supplementary grant.
For a while, the idea was that in the first few years the funds could also go towards income support for students living away from home. That would have given them around 100 euros per month extra. There appeared to be a parliamentary majority in favour of it.
It is not going ahead, however, according to the Spring Memorandum, which the government published last week. The money will go back to the Treasury, unless the House of Representatives opposes the move.
Under the old regulations – which are no longer valid – tuition fees would have gone up in September 2023 to 2,421 euros. The fees for 2024 would then have been 2,547 euros: 15 euros more than the new figure.
Bas Belleman | Translation: Taalcentrum-VU