Gas, petrol and electricity have become much more expensive than last year and the weekly shopping bill is rising steeply too. In January, the rate of inflation in the Netherlands hit 6.4 percent. Inflation could see higher education tuition fees rise by 140 euros to around 2,350 euros according to calculations made by HOP. An increase at that level would almost equal the total rise for the previous four years put together. As a rule, tuition fees tend to rise by only a few tens of euros annually.
It is more difficult to predict what the consequences would be for the institutional fees that international students would have to pay. This is up to the institutions themselves to determine. There are no uniform procedures like those for setting statutory tuition fees.
Do everything possible
“The government really has to do everything it possibly can to prevent an increase in tuition fees for the next academic year”, urges Lisanne de Roos of the Dutch National Students’ Association.
Politicians are currently looking for solutions to the loss of purchasing power already being felt by many groups in society. “It’s absolutely vital that students are not forgotten”, says De Roos. “They too are affected by inflation and high energy prices. It would be totally unacceptable if their financial situation were now to be hit even harder.”
In theory, it would be relatively straightforward for the government to prevent such a rise in tuition fees. The law does not need to be changed for that purpose. The relevant legislation only states that the price is established ‘by administrative order’.
The annual calculation of tuition fees is contained in an ‘implementation decree’ from 2008. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science uses the consumer price index for April when making that calculation. What the rate of inflation will be by then remains to be seen.
Up by half
In 2008, tuition fees were set at 1,565 euros. If next year’s fees do increase by as much as 140 euros, that will represent a 50 percent rise in statutory tuition fees since that year.
HOP, Bas Belleman