Studying in Canada with study financing, obtaining a start-up allowance, adapting the payment of study financing and receiving study financing in between two studies. These are some of the changes that will be made to the Study Financing Law for students of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker has sent a law proposal to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament to amend the existing Caribbean Netherlands Study Financing Law, the WSF BES.
The initial law went into effect on August 1, 2011, and requires adaptations in various areas. “More than three years later, it has become clear that there are a number of (start-up) problems and ambiguities in the execution of the law. Also, a number of issues were unintentionally unforeseen,” stated the minister in the Explanatory Note.
One of the major changes to the law, when approved by the Second and First Chamber, will be the possibility for Caribbean Netherlands to study in Canada with Dutch study financing. The list of countries, where one can study, will be expanded with Canada.
Studying in the United States (US) and English-speaking Caribbean countries such as Barbados with Dutch study financing is already a possibility under the current law. “Saba has indicated that students from Saba, where English is the language of instruction, want to be able to study in an English-speaking country,” Bussemaker stated.
Another change under the amended law is that the payments of study financing can be adapted. This is positive for students studying in English- speaking countries, who will be able to receive their study financing in another configuration than monthly payments.
“The possibility will be created to adapt the payment rhythm. In a few countries, including the US and Barbados, students are obliged to pay their tuition fee twice per year. The current monthly payment of study financing is not practical for these students,” the minister stated.
Another change to the law, once implemented, will be that Caribbean Netherlands students, who are going to the Netherlands, can receive a start-up allowance if they commence their studies in February instead of September, at the start of the academic year.
Students have to comply with a number of conditions. Bussemaker didn’t state what these conditions were, but she did allude that the allowance serves to finance the airfare to the Netherlands, the necessary study equipment, guidance and bridging facilities. Also, the term to request a start-up allowance will be expanded.
An additional issue that will be addressed in the amended law is the switch of students from a vocational study to a higher education study. Currently these students receive no study financing in the month of August, because the academic years of these types of education vary. The amended law will remedy this situation so these students also receive study financing in the overlapping period.
A specific date of implementation for the amended law has not been set as yet. The minister explained that the intention is to have the different parts of this law go into effect at various times, since the changes to the law are linked to a different moment in the academic year. The technical changes can immediately go into effect after approval by the Dutch Parliament, while changes that are linked to calendar years, can go into effect at the start of a new year. Changes related to the academic year can become effective at the start of a new academic year.
The Daily Herald.