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.
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