Universities getting less money per student, despite extra investments
Universities are getting less money per student from the government, despite extra investments in education from the abolishment of the basic study grant. While this extra money did help in improving the quality of education, it is not enough to reverse the trend of less and less money per student, the association of Dutch universities VSNU said to ANP.
In the year 2000, universities received around 20 thousand euros per student. Now it's about 15 thousand euros per student, according to VSNU calculations. Without the extra investments from the basic study grant being scrapped, that would have been around 14 thousand euros per student.
According to the VSNU, the reduction in money per student despite extra investments is due to an increase in the number of students. In the 2000/2001 academic year, over 166 thousand people in the Netherlands attended academic education. In the current academic year, it's nearly 307 thousand.
Proponents of the abolition of the basic grant often stress that the money would be used to improve higher education, and that it did, the VSNU said. Last year, 66 million euros were pushed into quality improvements.
"At Maastricht University, for example, the group size has already been reduced to a maximum of 15 students, and extra tutors are being deployed at Erasmus University Rotterdam to make smaller-scale education possible," the association said. Universities also continue to invest in their educational facilities, to support digitization among other things. "Recently, student welfare has increasingly become a spearhead for universities," VSNU said, adding that they've hired more mentors and psychologists.
But these improvements are not enough to keep the quality of higher education at its high level. More investment will be needed.
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, currently support reintroducing study grants and scrapping the current loan system. The VSNU has no opinion on that matter, but hopes that extra investments will be maintained after the parliamentary elections, a spokesperson said to the news wire.