Students from across the country held a demonstration Saturday in Amsterdam’s Museumplein to receive higher compensation for the education loan system, which the government is currently phasing out.
Although the new Cabinet is allocating money for students affected by the loan system, the protesters insist it is not enough.
Last year, politicians agreed to abolish the student loan system. Before it came into effect in 2015, students received a basic grant of a few hundred euros per month, which did not have to be repaid in most cases. The basic grant will be reinstated in 2023 and students who did not receive the grant in the intervening years will be compensated for the extra loans they borrowed.
The decision to abolish the loan system was met with approval by student unions. However, the unions think the one billion euros the Cabinet is allocating to compensate the generation who did not receive the grant is far too little. The Dutch Student Union (LSVb) and FNV Young & United calculate that the one billion euro total amounts to an additional 1,000 to 2,000 euros per person.
“Our generation should not be the victims of a failed government austerity experiment by the Cabinet,” the unions stated.
The unions’ goal in protesting is to gain full compensation in the amount of a basic grant for their whole period of their studies –– and also to compensate students who did not take out loans, according to an LSVb member quoted in AT5.
Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf reacted to the Museumplein protest by issuing a statement on Twitter, saying he wants to discuss “other things” the Cabinet can do for the generation of students who did not receive a study grant, according to NOS. Dijkgraaf added he wanted to have an open conversation with the demonstration’s initiators.
The students who borrowed loans under the current system have been referred to as “the unlucky generation” by the CDA.