Opinion: The temporary increase in ‘basisbeurs’ ends, but inflation doesn’t stop

This is an opinion piece originally published in the Ukrant. Read it here.

The scheme to compensate students living away from home for increased costs is ending, to the anger of chair Ken Hesselink of the Groningen Students’ Union (GSb). ‘Ridiculous, because inflation just rages on.’

Thursday night, the House of Representatives decided to stop the temporary purchasing power measure for students. Now every student living away from home still gets 164.30 euros extra ‘basisbeurs’ due to inflation, but that will no longer be the case next year.

I think this is ridiculous, because in the meantime inflation just keeps on raging.

Very nice that the ‘basisbeurs’ is back, very unfortunate that it is so much lower. Once the inflationary increase is abolished, students living away from home will receive only 274.90 euros. Before the abolishment of the basic scholarship this was (corrected for inflation) 363.87 euros. So the financial situation of students has deteriorated a lot since the abolition of the ‘basisbeurs’.

All costs for students are going up, but the 'basisbeurs' is actually going down

Students’ financial position is also lousy at the moment. The average rent in Groningen is 479 euros, according to rental platform Kamernet. Tuition will be 2530 euros next year. And the price of energy and groceries is going through the ceiling. All costs for students are going up exponentially, but the basic scholarship is actually going down.

In addition, all sorts of measures have been taken in recent years to help people and businesses through inflation, but students are structurally excluded. And with the huge increase in energy prices, students are especially affected. Despite the fact that students also just want to live in a warm house, until recently they were the only group that received no help from the government.

Jan Paternotte (D66) and Sandra Beckerman (SP) had submitted an amendment in the Lower House in January to keep the inflation increase. Unfortunately, this was voted down by the House of Representatives on Thursday.

I find this unbelievable. At the moment there is no deflation yet. So to then abolish the inflation increase has no basis whatsoever. This only helps students even more into financial problems.

But the last word has not yet been spoken. It is now up to us to fight for a structural increase in the ‘basisbeurs’. After all, inflation does not stop in September.

Ken Hesselink is chair of the Groningen Students’ Union (GSb).

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