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Universities charge lower tuition fees for students fleeing Ukraine

All fourteen universities in the Netherlands are reducing their tuition fees for refugee Ukrainian students for the academic year 2022-2023. As a result, these students will pay the statutory tuition fee of €2209 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 drawing ever closer. It is important to quickly offer certainty to prospective students who have fled from Ukraine, 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 directly charge the statutory tuition fees, other universities compensate for the difference with the institutional tuition fees from a fund.

Recently, universities, universities of applied sciences and the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF pleaded with the Cabinet to grant prospective students from Ukraine a temporary residence permit on humanitarian grounds. This would open up both the study financing and the statutory tuition fee to refugees from Ukraine. The Cabinet has decided to grant the status of displaced persons to Ukrainian refugees, as a result of which no statutory tuition fee applies to them. As yet, no decision has been made by OCW to make an exception for students who have fled from Ukraine. Universities still believe that offering a reduced tuition fee for this group of students is a responsibility of the central government but, in order to avoid unacceptable situations, have decided for the time being 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 a study at a Dutch university. Nevertheless, this will not be enough for many Ukrainians. Currently, Ukrainian students can receive emergency support from their university if they are in financial need. At the outbreak of the war, this was logical because of the easy contact that universities have with their students. However, it is more logical for the government to carry out this task. Therefore, the universities have requested the Ministries of Education, Culture and Science and of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) to provide living money to Ukrainian students, since this is not a responsibility of universities.

This is a press release from Universities of the Netherlands, the umbrella organisation of Dutch universities. At this moment it is being investigated how this regulation will be implemented at the University of Twente.