Student associations accuse Dutch universities of unfair tuition

Most Dutch universities and colleges still charge students tuition when they suspend their studies for a year to sit on the board of an association. "Instead of colleges and universities thanking their committed and ambitious student executives for their crucial contribution to a challenging study climate, they punish them by charging them for courses they aren't following", Rhea van der Dong of student association ISO said, ANP reports. 

Last year a legislative amendment made it possible for students who do a full-time management year to be exempted from tuition, though universities and colleges are not obliged to stop charging them. According to ISO, most courses do not facilitate a tuition free management year. 87 percent of the students who are currently full-time members of an association's board, are paying full tuition fees while not taking any classes, according to ISO.

The ISO and several other student associations are calling on Education Minister Jet Bussemaker and parliament to do something about this. The associations want Bussemaker to make concrete agreements with universities and colleges on really implementing tuition free management years.

According to ISO, experience and activities outside of studying are very important for the personal development of a student, and helps him or her find a job after graduating. This is something that should be encouraged, not punished with unfair tuition.