Steps to help international students

Students problems measures
Photo credit: John Schnobrich/Unsplash

Eindhoven has many international students. Sixteen per cent of students at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) are internationals. In these unsettling ‘Corona’ times, they’re having huge problems.

Many have lost their part time-jobs. These students are having trouble paying for tuition fees, rent, and groceries. Loneliness among the students is also a big problem.

Last month, at councillor Miriam Frosi (CDA)’s initative, a survey was done. She put questions to the Eindhoven city council. Eindhoven News reported about these steps in detail. We’re closely and actively involved in highlighting international students’ plight.

Corona Portal

The CDA and council discussed these issues and proposed important solutions to this situation. The board is well aware of the distressing situation of international students in the city. One response was the Holland Expat Centre South’s implementation of the Corona Portal.

They did so together with Brainport Development, Fontys, TU/e, and High Tech Campus. Students can find relevant information and referrals to other organisations on this site. The portal will remain in place after the corona crisis. A special welcome guide for international students is being prepared too.

Measures tackling students problems
Photo credit: Studio040

The council also states that, just like every other citizen in the city, international students can temporarily use facilities such as the food and clothing bank. However, this also depends on the assessment of individual applications.

Mental health

Eindhoven Municipality wants to help tackle the students’ mental health issues too. They say the students, as is the case with other residents, can also use the basic facilities for this. These include WIJeindhoven, the GGD (Regional Mental Health Department) , and the General Physicians.

The educational institutions themselves have also taken steps to help in this area. At Fontys, lecturers and student coaches play an essential role in this. They identify and take the first steps concerning students’ stress and welfare complaints.

The TU/e engages in individual conversations with student psychologists. They also have training courses for stress and burnout. TINT life coaches offer several coaching and mindfulness sessions too.

TINT is an organisation that supports the well-being of students. The regional programme, “Brabant International Students”, is also involved in addressing this issue.

Tuition and rent

Measures to tackle Students problems
Photo credit: Fontys

The council appreciates international students’ concerns regarding educational costs and accommodation rents too. The Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science has already taken measures in this regard. The rules clearly state that:

  • In the first quarter of 2021, everyone who obtains a higher professional education diploma or master’s degree at a university between September 2020 to January 2021, will receive a one-off compensation amount. This will total a maximum of three months tuition fees. For a higher education student, this would amount to a one-time compensation of €535. This also applies to (international) students who pay institutional tuition fees.
  • Fontys has asked its housing boards to provide kind-gesture rules. Fontys arranges accommodation for first-year students. They can arrange their own accommodation longer by extending the rental period. Some exchange students left immediately at the beginning of the COVID-19 period. Fontys has taken these students remaining months of rent for its own account.
  • TU/e has stated that individual arrangements will be made with students who report having payment problems regarding their tuition fees. It may include postponement of the payment deadline. Some non-EU students ended their studies because of the coronavirus pandemic. They might be able to pay the statutory tuition fee instead of the institutional fee. This is for a maximum of three months. The 2019/2020 institutional fee is €11.000 for a Bachelor’s degree and €16.000 for a Master’s. The statutory tuition fee is €2,083.

The Dutch government has already taken these comprehensive measures. The Eindhoven city council, therefore, sees no reason to enter into further discussions with educational institutions and property owners about rent and study costs. However, they’re in close contact with the educational institutions through periodic official and administrative consultations.

A report by Chaitali Sengupta

Editor: Melinda Walraven

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