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Letter from UAF, VH and UNL about access to education for refugees from Ukraine 

Re.: Access to education for refugees from Ukraine 

Dear Minister Dijkgraaf and State Secretary Van der Burg,

Many refugees are seeking sanctuary from the horrors of the war in Ukraine. Among them are students who want to resume their studies so they can look to the future again. On 4 March, the signatories to this letter wrote a letter to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, urging you to safeguard the access to higher education for students who have fled Ukraine due the humanitarian crisis there. Concerns that this is too expensive should never be an impediment to the opportunities offered to refugee students to resume their studies. If this group of refugees who have been offered sanctuary under the Temporary Protection Directive are excluded from access to student grants/loans and statutory tuition fees, most of the refugee students will be unable to start or resume studies in the Netherlands.

Right to student grants/loans and statutory tuition fees
We urgently call on both of you to provide funding to enable (prospective) students from Ukraine to resume their studies in the Netherlands. The living allowance they receive is insufficient to cover the costs of studying. Granting refugees from Ukraine a temporary residence permit on humanitarian grounds, as proposed in the motion tabled by House member Piri et al., would give them access to student grants/loans and statutory tuition fees. These facilities should unquestionably be considered in the decision-making on the status of these refugees.

Students want to start in September 2022
We recently received many messages from (prospective) students from Ukraine who want to resume their studies at an educational institution in the Netherlands. Due to the lack of a decision on what facilities they are entitled to under their status, it is impossible to give these students clarity about their options for enrolment in higher education in the Netherlands. It is vital that a decision is made on the facilities they are entitled to under their status in the immediate future, as some of these students want to start a degree programme in September 2022. Our organisations are ready to provide education to this group of students, and we hope you will reach a decision that will enable this. We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely, 
Fatimazhra Belhirch - Director of Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF)
Babs van den Bergh - Director of Universities of the Netherlands (UNL)
Ron Minnée - Director of Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH)

Click here to read this letter in PDF format.


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Ruben Puylaert


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Liselotte de Langen

Deputy spokesperson (Thursday)

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