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Studying in the Netherlands has always been an easy life. Each month you receive your student allowance, public transport is free, college fees are cheap and you can study for pretty much as long as you want.

But things are about to change. The Dutch government is aiming for a top-5 position in the list of knowledge economies in the world. That is not likely to happen with the current policy. So they decided to change their attitude. Under the reign of education minister Halbe Zijlstra the government implements 5 new rules. These rules push the students to finish their studies quicker and take their study more serious. Fun times are over!

1. No more student scholarship for master students!
The government decided to stop the monthly scholarship master students receive until now. From 2012 onwards, only bachelor student receive this scholarship. Master students can lend money from the government. To accommodate this, the government has raised the period to pay back the loan to 20 years.

2. A fine if you take too long!
If you take too much time for your study, you have to pay a 3.000 euro fine. This sum is added to your college tuition. You have to pay this fine if you study more than one year longer than the nominal study time (the time the university has given for your study).

3. Two years less free public transport
Students have the right to free public transport for the nominal study time plus three years extra. From September 2012 this will change to the nominal study time plus one year extra.

4. “De harde knip”: first finish your bachelor, before you start your master It is no longer possible to start a master, before finishing all your bachelor courses. This rules applies to all masters, even the ‘ doorstroommasters’ (the masters that belong to a certain bachelor).

5. The government does not pay for your second study anymore If you want to follow a second study after your first study, you have to pay a much higher college tuition. The institution you study at can determine its own price. This can vary between different institutions. The good news is that if you do the two studies simultaneously, you get the second one free.

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