Students facing money issues – how the university is showing its corona compassion

'Utrecht, take good care for each other'. Photo DUB

A tuition cut for all students, as the winner of the Utrecht University Council elections UUinActie would like to see, is not going to happen. Legally, it’s not even allowed. Moreover, teachers have delivered far too great work with their online alternatives for in-person classes to do something like this, the university board says.

But the financial pain of students experiencing negative effects as a result of the crisis will most definitely be relieved. In a memo to the University Council, the UU board explains the compensation arrangements it’s introducing for UU students.

Students who are unable to pay their tuition, for example, can request deferment of payment. Together with their student dean, they can then search for ways to pay the money owed. There are no signs that UU students are having more financial struggles than in previous years, however. There’s no increase in late payments.

On a national level, the minister decided to grant Master’s students who are unable to complete their studies in time this year an additional 535 euros. This is a compensation for three months of additional tuition. Students with supplementary grants will also be compensated.

Universities would like to see the government accommodate other students who are faced with cancelled internships or other elements of their study programmes, and subsequent study delays. Right now, the Executive Board states there are at least six hundred UU students whose studies are delayed as a result of the corona crisis, and that number is set to increase.

Profiling fund
Moreover, students who’ve been ill with the coronavirus, have (had) ill family members, have had to take care of children, or have experienced setbacks for other reasons, can appeal to the UU’s profiling fund, under the condition that they reported their situation early, with study advisors or student deans, for example.

Based on an estimate by study advisors, the UU board expects this group will consist of around 225 students. Depending on the size of the study delays, about 400,000 to 800,000 euros will be spent on them.

Travel reimbursement
Students who faced additional costs because they had to quickly leave their internship or homes abroad to return to the Netherlands can also request compensation. In total, there are around 850 students who are eligible for this. The UU had reserved 150,000 euros for this, and has spent 95,000 of that money up to now.

Institutional fees
A last group the UU feels is owed compensation is the group of international non-EU students, who pay the institutional tuition fees that are often more than 15,000 euros a year. If they experienced delays in the final year of their Bachelor’s or Master’s programme and have to reregister for the next academic year, they will only have to pay the regular tuition fees for the number of months they’ve been delayed.

The Master’s students in this group, like other Master’s students, will receive the one-time compensation of 535 euros from the minister, which means they’re basically being compensated for the entire tuition fee of their delays. Bachelor’s students are not eligible for the minister’s handout, but will pay a much lower tuition.

Students facing serious financial issues who aren’t out of the woods despite these measures will also have the opportunity to send in a request with the Ufonds emergency fund set up by UU alumni.