Most of the €35 million that the government allocated to help students struggling with soaring energy bills has not been distributed because of the tough conditions students have to meet, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.
The cabinet agreed to make money available after deciding not to include students in the group entitled to a one-off payment of €1,300. Instead, ministers said they could claim under a ruling to help people on minimum incomes to cover one-off costs.
But to claim, students had to meet income requirements and their student loans were included in the system as income. In addition, they need to live in an independent dwelling with its own gas and energy contract, rather than shared accommodation.
The Volkskrant said just a few dozen applications had been made by students in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Wageningen and most were rejected. This was mainly because the students’ income was too high or because they could not prove their energy bills were causing financial problems. Students also have to be over the age of 21 to claim.
The picture was different in Groningen where 144 out of 600 applications were honoured and in Maastricht, where 622 students applied, the Volkskrant said. Of the 242 successful applications in the Limburg university city, 139 were made by international students who were also covered by the local scheme.
In Amsterdam, Utrecht, Wageningen and Tilburg, where students have gone to court to fight being excluded from the €1,300 payout, the city administrations have agreed they can be fully compensated.
Applications for the grant end on July 1. The LSVB students union has a special page in English to help students apply for the payment.