That 1000 euro compensation for students is too little and not fair

Students with a high student debt deserve higher compensation than the government is now proposing, says Johan Graafland, professor at Tilburg University.

Johan Graafland

The government is reintroducing the basic grant from 2023. Students who have not received the scholarship in recent years after it was abolished in 2015 feel unequally treated and believe they deserve more compensation than the 1000 euros per person offered by the cabinet. But is their claim fair? And what’s really wrong with the compensation that the government will provide?

Whether the loan system generation is treated unfairly depends on how one looks at it. Certainly, if one compares her with the previous and future generations of students receiving a basic scholarship, it is an unequal treatment. But if you compare with low-educated young people who do not read, it is highly doubtful. The repayment of about 100 euros per month to pay a student debt of 40,000 euros is probably less than the salary increase after graduation. Therefore, the basic subsidy was abolished at that time. In other words, students who feel unfairly treated actually want the same privileges as previous and future generations of students, which low-educated youth do not.

The government has the freedom to treat people unequally over time

The foregoing also illustrates something else. The government should treat people under equal conditions equally. But she has the freedom to treat people unequally over time. If everyone who is disadvantaged by new policies is entitled to compensation, it will be impossible for a government to pursue adequate policies. For example, the proposed reintroduction of tax on actual return on capital (instead of on fictitious returns) would be very expensive if property owners had paid too much tax since the introduction of fictitious returns in 2001.

should come back. As a result, democratic suffrage would be severely impaired.

Students hang red clothes over the Bredero monument on the Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam as a protest against the lack of proper compensation to the loan system generation in the presented coalition agreement.  Picture ANP

Students hang red clothes over the Bredero monument on the Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam as a protest against the lack of proper compensation to the loan system generation in the presented coalition agreement.Picture ANP

Therefore, if there is a moral right to compensation, the reason should rather be sought in breach of the promise in 2015 that the abolition of the basic grant would be accompanied by an increase in the quality of education. There is a widespread impression that this promise has not been fulfilled. This injustice demands compensation.

Is the compensation that the cabinet is waiting for – a student certificate or a limited discount on student debt – sufficient for this? I do not think so for several reasons. For students who have already completed their studies, such a voucher is mustard after a meal. Many of them do not need a new education and therefore can not make use of such a voucher. That makes the coupon attractive to the government, of course – it costs little money – but justice is hard to find.

1000 euro pr. academic year would be closer

The discount on student debt is also problematic. First of all because the amount of 1000 euros is very low. I estimate that an amount of 1,000 euros per. academic year is closer to the damage that the lack of investment in education quality has suffered. In addition, this compensation only does justice to students who still have student debt.

Three categories of students are excluded: students who have already paid their debts, students who have not built up debt by working in their spare time, and students whose parents have paid for the extra study costs by abolishing the scholarship (e.g. because other children could still study with a scholarship). These students have also been disadvantaged by the lack of a higher quality of education. By not compensating them, another unfair treatment is encouraged.

In short: reasonable compensation should not only exceed 1000 euros per. per person, but should also be allocated equally to all students who studied between 2015 and 2023, by repaying them a fixed amount for each academic year.

Also read:

The loan system generation would like to be consulted. ‘I have learned not to look too far ahead’

They start their social careers with a debt of tens of thousands of euros and they receive little compensation. Generation loan system feelt even the child of the account.

Loan students can forget all about buying a house, they will soon be at the back of the line

Student Jaël Kortekaas believes that the compensation that the new cabinet grants to student loan system students solves a little. The unfortunate generation will soon have to compete with the new generation of students who can buy a house.

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