Netherlands cuts 1st year student's tuition in half

New students to Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences will pay only half their tuition from the next academic year. The Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, approved cutting the tuition fees in half for first year students. Students starting teacher training will pay half tuition in their first two years of study, ANP reports.

This measure is intended to make higher education more accessible in the Netherlands. By giving future teachers discount on their first two years of study, instead of only the first year, the government hopes to interest more young people in the profession and thereby solve the teacher shortage in the country.

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, previously approved the measure, despite strong criticism from the Council of State. According to the Council, the money from this measure will mostly end up with young people who were going to study further anyway.

Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science is delighted with the Eerste Kamer's support. "Students are really happy with this", she said, according to the news wire. "If you go to study, tuition fees are pretty much the first bill you get. It really makes a difference if it is for more than 2 thousand euros, or the thousand euros we now arranged."

Students' organization ISO is not very pleased with this measure, calling it a "symbolic discount". According to the organization, this "by no means outweighs students' high study debts, caused by the introduction of the loan system".