Cabinet skips January period for STAP budget | News item

News item | 12-12-2022 | 3:00 PM

The cabinet has decided to skip the January 2023 application period for the STAP budget. Time is needed to implement measures aimed at reducing abuse and improper use. In this way, the government prevents training that does not meet the conditions of STAP from receiving a subsidy. This is what Ministers Van Gennip (Social Affairs and Employment) and Wiersma (Primary and Secondary Education) write today in a letter to the House of Representatives.

Research is currently underway into more than 3,500 courses at approximately 200 trainers. Time is needed to do this research carefully, adversarially. Recently, in a case involving STAP, the court decided that payments to a trainer, with courses that are being investigated by the Assessment Chamber, may not be withheld. According to the court, the mere fact that a program is under investigation is not sufficient reason not to pay a trainer (yet). By extending this statement to all study programs under investigation, there is a risk that training will be followed, and subsidized, that does not meet the conditions of the STAP budget. To avoid this, the January period is skipped.

The court’s ruling also means that deferred applications for training in research can simply be followed. And that the subsidies retained will be paid to the trainer.

Minister Van Gennip: “The STAP budget is a popular scheme that does what it should do, namely encourage people to get started with their professional development. Nevertheless, we have also seen serious points for improvement in the scheme in recent times. One of these is preventing trainers and courses from being included in the training register that do not meet the conditions of STAP. I think it is important to ensure that the scheme is in good shape now, before a new budget is paid out. I fully realize that people who wanted to use the STAP budget in January will be disappointed about this. But in the longer term, I see this as necessary to ensure that the STAP scheme functions properly.”

Last November, the cabinet indicated that it wanted to make the STAP scheme stricter and tighter. To prevent STAP from being used as an inappropriate revenue model, the number of awards per program will be limited from 2023. Quality marks that admit trainers (such as NRTO and CEDEO) will also check more strictly whether their courses meet the requirements of STAP. These measures will be further elaborated and implemented in the coming period.

The STAP budget available for 2023 will remain the same and will be divided over five application periods. The next application period starts on 28 February.