The UvA students held an unannounced protest at Roeterseilandcampus on Tuesday, June 7th, to bring attention to the meagre sum of money that the government has decided to give to students. The rally was held to promote the large protest that will take place at Dam Square on June 11th.
Although the loan system has been phased out, the substitute leaves a lot to be desired. Students are nevertheless compelled to go into debt despite receiving a subsidy of 274 euros for living away from home and 110 euros for staying at home. The non-resident grant levels are lower than the basic grant from 2015, despite the fact that inflation has merely grown. Furthermore, the cabinet’s remuneration (1436 euros after four years of education) is a pittance. Now, the interest rate on student loans is also on the rise. The students’ goal with these activist demonstrations is to obtain a basic grant that will allow them to graduate debt-free and without remuneration; they want to have the same possibilities as the student generations before and after us. That is why they seek equitable treatment and reimbursement for the losses suffered under the previous system. This is true for everyone, regardless of the size of their debt. Because you are just as entitled to compensation whether you have worked hard to avoid having to borrow, or if you have a family debt.
As the protestors said at the gathering ‘A debt machine is a lending system. It cannot be the situation that you as a student are stuck with massive debts before you begin your working life in a culture where you cannot find a job without an education. After all, the labour market is becoming increasingly unstable, and this generation will also be responsible for the consequences of the financial crisis, climate change, and ageing. #nietmijnschuld’