After 274 long days, the Dutch government has finally presented its new coalition agreement. The optimistically titled document shows the direction of the Netherlands for the next four years. What does this mean for students?
The big question: will the loan system finally, finally disappear? After endless protests under the name #nietmijnschuld (not my fault/debt) the so-called ‘basisbeurs’ will return. This means that all Dutch students (sorry internationals) will receive money from the government on a monthly basis. Awesome right? Not really. While this allows future generations to enjoy the basisbeurs, if you have studied between 2015 and 2023 you have used the infamous loan system. Of course, there will be compensation and the new government has been so kind to free up one billion euros for us. That might seem like a lot, but is actually just ten per cent of what you would have gotten through the ‘basisbeurs’ that was in place before 2015. Students will receive about two thousand euros at most, per person. With many people in twenty thousand or more in debt, two thousand bucks seem like a big fuck you to anyone studying between 2015 and 2023.
The binding study advice (BSA) will also see some changes. You know those credits you have to pass in your first year, that is the BSA. If you drank a little too much beer in the first year and have not been able to pass all those exams, a big relief will await you (or at least the next generations, you might spot a running theme here). If students do not pass their BSA, they will have a second chance in their second year. Hoping to contribute to the mental health of students, the new government wants to offer them more room to breathe in their first year this way.
At last, still living in your friends living room? The coalition wants to build more houses! They strive for fifteen thousand new houses for students, work migrants and homeless people. If you have studied in the past years and are planning to buy a house, once again, tough luck: when applying for a mortgage your student debt will be taken into account.
While lovely for all your younger siblings, current students won’t reap the benefits of this new coalition agreement. Luckily, those two thousand euros will cover about two per cent of your debt! It seems like the government has forgotten an entire generation.