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Mandatory reporting for extra study costs

23 November 2007, 00:00

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science must make it mandatory for universities to inform students about extra study costs, according to the Socialist Party (SP).

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science must make it mandatory for universities to inform students about extra study costs, according to the Socialist Party (SP). Students supposedly spend an average of 750 euros extra per year on books and excursions.

Last September, Renske Leijten, a member of the SP, called on students to fill in their extra study costs on a website run by her party. The request was answered by 566 people: 257 students in higher professional education (HBO's), 244 university students and 65 students in senior secondary vocational education (MBO's). The HBO students had to pay the most with an average of 825 euros on top of their 1,500 euros tuition fee. University students spend on average 686 euros on extra study costs and MBO students pay on average an amount of 611 euros.

The main concern of the SP is that higher education institutions make students pay for things that they should pay for themselves. Some respondents said that they had to buy a laptop while the faculty's IT facilities were being dismantled. This happened at the higher professional education institutions of the Hogeschool Utrecht and the Hogeschool Zuyd.

The highest extra costs are for books and syllabuses: HBO students spend an average of 600 euros on books and nearly 90 euros on syllabuses. University students pay 560 euros for books and 170 euros for syllabuses.

There were other remarkable expenses: a hotel management student was said to have spent 1,000 euros on excursions. A medical student from Rotterdam had to buy his own material at a cost of more than 1,000 euros. A building and architecture student at the TU Delft spent that amount on material he needed to make scale models. Some students, on the other hand, don't even spend ten euros per year on extra study material.

`This is just a random check,' said Leijten. `But from the student reactions, most feel that the incremental extra study costs are unclear, especially for higher professional and university educational programs.' The SP thinks the institutions should be obligated to mention the extra costs. `As far as I'm concerned, the Netherlands and Flemish Accreditation Organization need to check whether the numbers are correct when it accredits a study program, and find out if faculties are warned when the costs are higher than mentioned.'

High school students can find the extra costs for a future study program at the website, Studiekeuze123, sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Costs are mentioned in the chapter about kerncijfers per opleiding (core figures per study program) at the back of the menu. This data comes from the national student survey.

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