Paul van Gerven
15 May

A committee tasked with reviewing the Dutch higher education budget recommends increasing the budgets of universities offering science education — technical universities (TUs) in particular — at the expense of those that don’t. On average, the budget of the four TUs would grow 6.6 percent, according to the report (link in Dutch) the Commissie Van Rijn (CVR) presented to the Secretary of Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven.

The most important action the CVR recommends is reallocating 300 million euros from the part of the university budgets that depends on the number of students to the student-independent part. Of this 300 million euros, 250 million should be redistributed among universities in proportion to the number of science or technical students enlisted. Obviously, the TUs would benefit most from this recommendation. Taking other proposals of the CVR into account, the net gain of the TUs would amount to 70 million euros.

Effects of budget reallocation recommendations by the Commissie Van Rijn. On balance (‘saldo’), the four TUs (4TU) see a significant budget increase. Source: CVR report

The redistribution serves another purpose: increasing the fixed budgets at the expense of the ‘flexible’ one reduces the incentive for universities to increase their student numbers. The CVR wants to reduce this ‘perverse’ incentive to grow. Another CVR recommendation, to move 100 million euros of NWO research funding to the universities’ budgets, works towards the same goal.

The Secretary of Education announced she will present her policy changes before summer.