From September onwards, students may have to make do with 165 euros less per month. ‘And student life is already expensive’

A bit of a shock for students: they may no longer receive purchasing power support of 165 euros per month after September. Groningen students are disappointed. “I will have to borrow more to pay the rent.”

It is rainy in the city center of Groningen, but at the intersection of the Oude Look, ‘t Jatstraat and Broerstraat are nevertheless bursting with students. On the way to their lecture or a study spot in the University Library. Easily recognized by white sneakers, the clip high in the hair, and a full book bag.

There may be even more dark clouds hanging over studying Groningen from September onwards. On Thursday, the House of Representatives will decide whether students will continue to receive their purchasing power support of 165 euros per month after September. If the House decides to scrap the measure, this will mean that students will be significantly worse off.

‘I have friends who are already having a hard time’

Under the awning of the lunch tent at Roel in the Oude Kijk, students Nadia Mevangen and Milou Sinnema are sitting with a cup of hot mint tea. They hear the news for the first time and are surprised. “Without that extra support, I would find it difficult to make ends meet,” says Sinnema. “And I also have friends who are already having a very difficult time.”

They find that it is more difficult to make ends meet, especially because of more expensive groceries. “Cucumbers, zucchini, other vegetables, everything is very expensive,” says Mevangen. “Eating healthy is difficult now.” Sinnema: “I have been buying the same pack of cookies at the supermarket for two years. They are now almost twice as expensive.” The two prefer not to borrow extra money. “I find that a bit scary. I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay it back later or that I won’t be able to buy a house,” says Mevangen.

Janske Driest and Berber Kaak take shelter from the rain at the neighboring sandwich shop Il Gusto. “It would really be a shame,” says Driest. “Student life is already quite expensive, especially if you want to have some fun.” Both have part-time jobs. “But making ends meet becomes a lot more difficult without that extra money,” says Kaak.

‘Without those 165 euros, my student debt will increase faster’

Emma Leemans is sitting in a study room at the Harmonie Complex and is shocked by the news. “Oh, what a shame.” She fears that without the purchasing power support she will have to borrow extra money, because she will not be able to make it with just her basic grant and part-time job. “But I only notice it when I have to pay off my student debt,” she says jokingly.

Luna de Rouw recognizes that struggle. “My student debt is already high. Without those 165 euros it will increase even faster.” She cannot make ends meet on the basic grant alone. “I will have to borrow more to pay the rent.” Study buddy Nico Signorini from Italy is disappointed by the prospect of less support. “It would mean that I could live less comfortably.”

‘Honestly, it could be stolen from me’

Daan Kaasjager is sitting in the canteen of the Harmonie building. He puts the misery into perspective. “It would of course be unfavorable for myself, but actually I would understand it.” Studying should be accessible to everyone, he believes. “But you can achieve this better with a supplementary grant, depending on the income of the parents. I think support for people who really need it is better than compensation for everyone.”

Gijs de Vos would also have no problem no longer receiving the compensation from September. “To be honest, those 165 euros could be stolen from me.” He is doing an extra research master’s degree and is entitled to the basic grant for an extra year. “That sometimes feels a bit uncomfortable because others don’t have it. I would also prefer to see other students compensated.”