Left-wing opposition reluctantly supports student grant plan, despite low amounts
Left-wing opposition parties reluctantly supported the reintroduction of the basic grant for higher education students, but the parties were disappointed with what they consider to be low amounts that the Cabinet is allocating for it. They think the monthly amount is too low and the compensation for the "Unlucky Generation" is insufficient. The term refers to students forced to take out student loans when the grants were slashed in 2015. The left-wing parties are happy that the loan system is now reverting back to grants, they said during a debate about the measure.
Next year, students living at home will receive 110 euros, and students living away from home will receive 275 euros per month. GroenLinks, the PvdA, SP, PvdD and DENK think this amount is too low. "This is nearly as high as when I was a student," said SP member Peter Kwint, "while all costs have gone up."
The parties want to know how the minister arrived at these amounts. Those living away from home will also receive a temporary compensation of 164 euros on top of their grant because of the higher prices. The PvdA wants them to continue to receive this for longer.
There is also dissatisfaction with the billion euros in total that is intended to compensate the Unlucky Generation. Students who had to borrow under the student loan system have built up an average of about 27,000 euros in debt. Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf (Higher Education) wants to give them compensation totaling 1,400 euros. According to Volt, this amount is "not even a towel for the blood."
Above all, the opposition was frustrated that Dijkgraaf is not prepared to stretch the budget after repeated requests, so that more money becomes available for the students. Last year, students took to the streets several times about this, but in vain. "It is really too little, but today there is little political space," PvdA member Habtamu de Hoop sighed during the debate.
Coalition parties emphasized that no more money will now be added to the promised billion euros. According to the CDA, it is not about full compensation, but about an "allowance." However, the ChristenUnie, another coalition party, also wanted to see more money for compensation.
Denk Member of Parliament Stephan van Baarle accused the CDA of being satisfied with "a tip." CDA member René Peters said critics should produce counter-proposals that can be paid for from the government budget.
Reporting by ANP