Additional study costs

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Almost all students pay additional study costs on top of the tuition fees. These costs include mandatory field trips, textbooks, readers, a calculator, study material, costs associated with auditions or activities concerning study choice. Dutch law has set restricitions for institutionalisation of additional study costs. Unfortunately, educational institutions do not always comply with these regulations. A large proportion of the educational institutions are charging their students, unlawfully, additional study costs. Are you paying unlawful study costs to your educational institution? Please contact our Student helpline. On this page you can find information concerning which costs can be lawfully claimed by your educational institution, and which costs cannot.

Dutch law distinguishes two types of additional costs on top of the mandatory tuition fees. Firstly, the law states regulations regarding the inclusion of additional study costs associated with matters necessary to successfully complete the programme. In addition, the law states regulations regarding the inclusion of additional study costs associated with enrollment; the so called selection fee. The regulations regarding these two types of additional study costs will be elaborated upon in the section below. Currently, we are in negotiation with regular universities, universities of applied sciences and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (Dutch acronym: OCW) in order to put a stop to these unlawful practices.

Study costs

In principle, an educational institution is not allowed to charge additional fees on top of the mandatory tuition fees. Often, however, educational institutions claim extra fees for matters necessary to complete a programme successfully. These costs are prohibited by law, unless the institution offers a free alternative. As a student, you are entitled to certain benefits after enrollment. These benefits include inter alia the access to classes, academic buildings, student facilities and counselling. This basically means that the student does not need to pay additional fees for completing their degree successfully. If an educational institution does charge additional costs for mandatory activities or materials needed for the completion of your degree, the programme is required to offer a free alternative. In case your programme does not offer a free alternative, the additional charged costs are unlawful on the basis of art. 7.50, section 1 WHW.

The term ‘additional costs’ is very broad, imagine for example fees for mandatory field trips, costs associated with accessing a completed exam, registration fees for exams, costs of mandatory textbooks and other required materials, guest lectures and additional costs due to an internship.

Selection fees

Some educational institutions are, under certain conditions, allowed to charge a fee for the selection procedure associated with a student’s registration. This is only allowed in accordance with specific regulations. Currently, these regulations are absent. This means that to this day, all forms of selection costs are prohibited by law! However, the regulations concerning selection fees are bound to be realised. Therefore, we will provide a small overview of what types of selection fees the government will authorise. The AMvB (a Dutch law) will exclusively allow the charge of selection fees in the following cases only. In all other cases, the charge of selection fees is strictly forbidden.

  1. art. 6.7 WHW: When it concerns a small-scaled, intensive programme of which the executive board selects students in accordance with specific selection criteria, with permission of our Minister.
  2. art. 7. 26 WHW: When an educational institution imposes requirements regarding knowledge or skills that are not (sufficiently) part of secondary education, the minister may address ministerial arrangements to elect programmes authorized to select their students.
  3. art. 7. 26a WHW: Programmes in the field of arts and education training are allowed to select their students on the basis of specific requirements.
  4. art. 7. 53 WHW: Programmes with a fixed quota due to available education capacity are allowed, to some extent, to select their students.
  5. art. 7. 56 WHW: Programmes with a fixed quota in line with the needs on the labor market are allowed, to some extent, to select their students.

In conclusion, if it comes to the point that an educational institution charges selection fees on the basis of a regulation in line with the above mentioned cases, the institution needs to offer financial provisions to those for whom the selection fee becomes an insurmountable obstacle preventing registration. Thus, if you are unable to pay the selection fee, you may claim this financial provision.