Standard support for students abroad is insufficient

Read the letter from The Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf to the Second Chamber:

I hereby present to the Second Chamber the report “Towards imitable standards”. This study into the standard amounts in the BES Student Finance Act (WSF BES) was carried out by the research agency AnderssonEiffersFelix (AEF) on behalf of my ministry. This research concerned a financial and economic study into the adequacy of the standard amounts in the WSF BES. The reasons for having this study carried out were, among other things, various signals that the standard amounts on some islands would no longer be sufficient, and the significant increase in tuition fees on Curaçao and Aruba since the entry into force of the WSF BES.

Under the WSF BES, students from the Caribbean Netherlands can study on one of the BES islands, on Curaçao, Sint Maarten or Aruba, in the other Caribbean region or in the US or Canada. The law also provides for a start-up allowance if students from the Caribbean Netherlands go to study in the European Netherlands. This start-up allowance is intended to pay for the initial costs for the crossing, among other things.

In this study, AEF looked at the standard amounts from the WSF BES and to what extent they are in line with the (minimal) costs that students incur when they go to study at one of the destinations from the WSF BES. In the study, AEF also looked at the method of indexation of these standard amounts and to what extent this is in line with the cost increases at the various destinations.

AEF then makes seven recommendations to my ministry on how to arrive at adequate standard amounts. In the short term, in accordance with a promise to you, I will have a comparative study carried out to the WSF BES and the WSF 2000 in the context of the principle of “comply” or “explain“.

Based on this principle, new policy, legislation and investments for the European Netherlands must always be assessed to determine whether they can also be applied to the Caribbean Netherlands (comply); Or whether there are good and explainable reasons not to do so or to do so differently (explain). The comply or explain principle therefore also offers the necessary room for customization and differentiation. The results of the study of the standard amounts will also be taken into account in the comparative study. I aim to be able to share the results of the competition and my substantive response to both studies with you by the end of 2024.

The Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf

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