AD is citing sources close to the final-stage negotiations to form a new coalition government. No details have yet emerged about what will replace the loan system. The article, which also appeared in Amsterdam daily Het Parool, refers to “a new type of student grant”. It also says that abandoning the student loan system sooner is not feasible due to practical considerations.
Negotiations are still ongoing as regards compensation for those currently studying under the existing loan system. One insider has been quoted as saying that it would be “very pricey” to provide financial support for every year affected.
In the run-up to the elections, CDA and ChristenUnie said they favoured a return to the basic student grant, while D66 announced plans to provide student support through taxation. The VVD was the only party to give a firm commitment to the existing loan system.
The Netherlands has had a caretaker government for almost eleven months as talks to form a new coalition drag on. VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie are currently negotiating a continuation of their preceding coalition. They are expected to present an agreement this week, one that will include assurances on student financing.
The Dutch Student Union has issued a happy yet cautious response to the latest reports. It welcomes the scrapping of the existing loans system as “great news”, but points out the uncertainties about what will replace it and whether compensation will actually be available to those studying under the current system.
The Dutch National Students’ Association ISO is also curbing its enthusiasm for the time being. “Hopefully, we will be able to pop the champagne corks early next week.”
Compensation for students currently studying under the loan system could take many forms. The Ministry of Education set out a range of options earlier this year, varying in cost from 1.4 to 11 billion euros.
HOP, Bas Belleman