University to receive 15 million euros to hire more teachers

Universities will be able to hire more teachers thanks to additional funds from the government. Illustration: Pixabay

The money comes from the National Programme on Education, from which Utrecht University will receive around 15.4 million euros to accommodate the growing number of students. The governmental funds are remarkable because the money is not going to be given to the university at the end of the year, as is usually done. Instead, it will be paid this year already. It’s unclear when exactly the university will be getting the money, but UU wants to hire new teachers as soon as possible, which is why it will be advancing the funds so that faculties can start publishing the vacancies.

The money was divided amongst the faculties in proportion to the growth of the number of students they have experiences recently: the faculties whose student population grew the most this year will be getting more than those that saw only a small increase. That means the faculties of Law, Humanities, and Science will receive an additional 3.5 million euros, while Social Sciences will receive 2.5 million euros. The university will only look at the increase in students paying the regular tuition fees, as it does not receive any funds from the government for students who pay the higher institutional tuition fees, such as students from outside the European Economic Area. After all, the higher tuition fee already covers all the costs.

The Dutch Minister of Education, Ingrid Van Engelshoven, reassured higher education institutions that these millions are meant as a structural measure. The Executive Board has therefore decided to provide five years of additional funding for the faculties, so that they can offer teachers either permanent contracts or five- or six-year contracts. It’s also possible to give permanent positions to teachers currently working on a temporary contract. Additionally, the university would like to grant these new teachers enough time to conduct. The Executive Board estimates they will spend 70 percent of the time teaching and 30 percent of the time on research, but faculties are free to decide on a different ratio.

After five years, the university will assess whether the distribution of funds should be done differently, as the the number of students may have increased or dropped in certain faculties by then. The distribution of these funds has been approved by the University Council on the 26th of May.

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The National Programme on Education (NPO in the Dutch acronym) was established by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science to relieve the consequences of Covid-19 to the educational sector. It comprises a total of 8.5 billion euros, to be distributed between 2021 and 2023. Academic education will receive 677 million euros to pay for the tuition fee cuts for 2021-2022, the delays researchers have experienced, and the additional student assistants faculties had to hire to make sure the transition to online education went smoothly. 

Aside from these funds for temporary measures, the ministry is also using the NPO to spend additional millions on vocational schools (MBO), universities of applied sciences (HBO) and universities such as UU to help them handle the increased number of students. The latter funds are structural, which means the educational institutions can count on them every year. For 2021 and 2022, this will mean an additional 156 million per year; for 2026, this will be 323 million euros.