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Paying for University - the Dutch way

Students should be attracted to university for what they can teach them, not for the fun things they offer

Photo of Katerina Bohle Carbonell
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I went to university in the Netherlands (Maastricht University). Maastricht University is not know for its sports team or top-class recreational activities. We do not have dorms for regular students. We do not have an elective system (except at the University Maastricht College), our courses are set out for us for the first 2 years of a 3 year bachelor. We are required to go abroad (at least in most schools) for 6 months. And we pay tuition costs. Just below 2000 Euros per year. It is steadily increasing, but people can afford it. The state offers 'study allowance'. This is like pocket money for studying. It doesn't cover all your expenses, but it helps you keep your head above water. 

Courses at Maastricht take 8 weeks of intensive small group discussion. You do the exam, and your done. The first year is the most expensive, as instructors use textbooks. But this vanishes, and students in their 2nd and 3rd year are required to read academic articles, articles freely available. 

Maastricht University is one of the top youngest university in the world. The program from which I graduated (Master in Management of Learning) is consecutively ranked top in the Netherlands for the quality of education it offers, not for the fun we had (which we had).

The point is that universities should find out what their core competencies is and stick to that. Then they need to shed everything that doesn't add to it. That's what companies do in order to survive. The time will come when students (and parents) will refuse to pay the tuition and people will go somewhere else to get their education. We see this at Maastricht University with an increasing amount of British students enrolling after the increase in tuition costs in the UK.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

personal experience


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Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Katerina! I am the community guide for OpenIDEO's current challenge - How might we better prepare all learners for the needs of tomorrow by reimagining higher education? Can I share this post with the community members in that challenge? I think your experience could generate a lot of discussion and new ideas on how to change things.

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