Three motions against the loan system were raised, two of which were accepted during the General Considerations on the new National Budget. It is the first time a majority of this magnitude votes against the loan system in the Lower House.
SP and Volt submitted a motion each, while the ChristenUnie and CDA submitted a joint motion. SP’s motion was rejected, the other two were accepted with an overwhelming majority. Of the large parties, only VVD voted against it.
Outgoing prime minister Rutte dissuaded the SP-motion, but not the other two, because the SP ‘requests the government to act’ while the other two motions ‘express’ that something must be done.
The difference is subtle but means that the government does not have to act immediately. Another difference is that the motions put forward by Volt, ChristenUnie and CDA make no mention of compensating students that have had no access to a basic grant, while the rejected SP-motion does include this.
Student organisation ISO considers the vote a win. ISO calls it a coup de grace for the loan system and ‘a reason for Dutch students to celebrate’. Outgoing prime minister Rutte, however, stresses that implementing a basic grant will take time. Executive agency DUO cannot implement a basic grant within days, as well as having the burden of other assignments, he stated. Nevertheless, it seems unavoidable that the next cabinet is to consider a return of the student grant. How and when remains to be seen.
How much money the next cabinet will earmark for the re-introduction of the basic student grant is unknown, as is the origin of said money. Will it impact the education budget? Despite the accepted motions, it could take several years before both the Lower House and the Senate ratify a reform of the student loan system.