Universities lower tuition fees for students who fled Ukraine
All 14 universities in the Netherlands are reducing their tuition fees for refugee Ukrainian students for the 2022-2023 academic year. As a result, these students will pay the statutory tuition fee of €2,209 instead of the much higher institutional tuition fee normally charged to students from outside the European Economic Area. Universities have taken this decision because the government has not yet decided to regulate this by law. Pieter Duisenberg: ‘The new academic year is rapidly approaching. It is important to offer prospective students who have fled Ukraine more certainty as soon as possible, precisely because they are in such an uncertain situation about their future.’ The exact effect of this decision differs from university to university. Some universities charge the statutory tuition fee directly, while others compensate the difference between the statutory and the institutional tuition fees from a fund.
Recently, research universities, universities of applied sciences and the UAF Foundation for Refugee Students pleaded with the government to grant prospective students from Ukraine a temporary residence permit on humanitarian grounds. This would make both student finance and the statutory tuition fee available to refugees from Ukraine. The government has decided to grant Ukrainian refugees the status of displaced people, as a result of which the statutory tuition fee does not apply for them. As yet, no decision has been made by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to make an exception for students who have fled from Ukraine. Universities still consider it the responsibility of the central government to offer this group of students a reduced rate, but to avoid unacceptable situations, they have for the time being decided to reduce the tuition fees for this group of students themselves.
With the reduction of tuition fees, it will be easier for Ukrainian students to afford to study at a Dutch university. For many Ukrainians, this will not be enough, however. Ukrainian students in financial need are currently eligible to receive emergency support from their university. This was a logical step when the war broke out, given the easy contact that universities have with their students. However, it is now more logical for the government to carry out this task. The universities have therefore asked the Ministries of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) to provide the Ukrainian students with living expenses, as this is not a responsibility of universities.