International students in the Netherlands demand partial-refunds for their study

After months of online learning, which promise to stretch into the upcoming academic year, many students in the Netherlands insist that they are paying too much for the education they receive. As a result, petitions for partial refunds have been building momentum across Dutch universities.

With distanced learning, textbooks become the primary source of study, Tilburg University student Sema Keskin told NOS. Lectures are chaotic, she says, resembling simple PowerPoint presentations that add little value. Professors are mostly unavailable and fail to promptly answer the questions of struggling students. “If you also cannot use the facilities of the campus,” she asks, “why are you paying the full amount?”

For these reasons, Keskin believes that €2000 is an illogical tuition rate during these times. Given that opting for online learning before COVID-19 was a third of the price cheaper, Keskin’s petition calls for this amount to be refunded to students for previous and future distanced semesters.

The impact on non-EU students

Tuition fees instantly multiply by up to seven times for non-EU students who find themselves unable to return to their home countries due to the coronavirus. Gleb Podorozhnyy, also of Tilburg University, started a petition for this very demographic who did not come to the Netherlands for Skype lectures.

“I want to show that non-EU students in the Netherlands are having a very hard time financially,” Podorozhnyy told U-Today. “They live from month to month. Students come from less wealthy countries, such as India, as well. They are supported by their whole family. They cannot return to their home country. This situation makes them very anxious. I just want to say with this petition: please, keep us in mind.”

The government’s response

According to Erasmus Magazine, the Dutch government has promised students who graduate between September and January a refund worth three months worth of tuition fees. However, whether this applies to Dutch students, EU citizens or all students is currently unclear. Compensation for study delays caused by coronavirus will also be granted, but the details of this are yet to be determined.

Do you think that students should receive refunds for their tuition? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Emily Burger
Emily grew up in South Africa but has also lived in Egypt, the UK, Canada and now the Netherlands. She first came here for her Bachelors in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University and soon fell in love with the land of canals, clogs and cheese. When she's not daydreaming about sci-fi movies or countries yet to explore, you can find her writing for DutchReview.


  1. The students will still be receiving credit for their courses. Let’s be fair; If they want a refund then reduce their credit hours received by that same percentage. For a 1/3 refund on a 3 credit course, you get 2 credit hours.

    If it’s not possible to reduce credit, then give the “refund” in the form of a discount on future tuition. Simply giving cash is ridiculous; is there anyone who honestly believes giving a large cash refund to those DEMANDING students will see that money spent on education rather than on a new cellphone, partying or simply Chillaxing?

    It is legitimate to demand something you are entitled to but haven’t been given, but admittedly – by the students themselves – there is nothing in their contract with the schools that states they are entitled to any sort of refund in these circumstances.

  2. As much as situation demands non EU students deserve refund because the school authorities has failed to honour the 100% class participation, irrespective of the credit hours of the program, students are suffering psychologically and it will not be appropriate to loose at both ends. How the refund is being spent should be personal which doesn’t require advice from any quarter.


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