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UvA anticipates cuts of potentially 110 million a year

Dirk Wolthekker,
10 juli 2024 - 09:36

Like other institutions, the UvA will not escape substantial cuts as a result of the new cabinet’s plans to cut 1 billion annually from higher education. In the coming financial year, the consequences can be foreseen, but from 2026 onwards, the cuts will be visible and tangible for everyone. Board Member in charge of finance Jan Lintsen explains.

In the middle of preparations for the new 2025 financial year, the UvA is also faced with the new cabinet’s announced cuts. For the coming year, these will have “very limited” consequences, but from 2026 onwards, the consequences will be major if the announced cuts were to continue in this form, says Lintsen. He calculates: “The UvA budget averages about 11 per cent of the Ministry of Education’s budget. If we apply that percentage to the 1 billion cut in the Framework Agreement, we could end up with 110 million euros a year. Each and everyone will then notice that. We will then no longer get away with some cuts left and right or working more efficiently.”

Foto: Sander Nieuwenhuys
Jan Lintsen

Dramatic turn of events

Lintsen’s disappointment and anger run deep, especially since, according to him, the UvA is in good financial shape at the moment. “If it weren’t for this cabinet, we could have drawn up a very nice budget for next year and the years after. That is now taking a dramatic turn. We will have to make cuts in an unprecedented way. If these cuts really go ahead, the UvA will look very different in 2030 than it does now.’


That everyone - including universities - has to tighten their belts is something Lintsen understands very well. “We were planning to save 20 million on operations and more efficient use of square metres anyway, but this cut is out of all proportion. We will oppose this to the utmost, starting with arguments, but equally with pieces in the media, talks with politicians and officials of the Ministry of Education, we will lobby with university umbrella body UNL and if necessary we will go to court. With the previous cabinet, there was an administrative agreement between the minister and universities on extra funding for education and research. This is being broken just like that.”


Staff reduction

How different will the UvA look in 2030 if the cuts continue? Lintsen: “We will then be able to place far fewer students than now, jobs may have to disappear, we will have to cut courses and some research will no longer be possible. The labour market is crying out for staff, but if we can no longer educate students, we cannot deliver people for the labour market either. This is bad for the Netherlands, bad for the earning capacity of the Netherlands and therefore for tax collection in the Netherlands.”

“We will have to make cuts in ways that will be unprecedented”


What is clear, according to Lintsen, is that the internationalisation of the UvA will take a big hit. “Of the 1 billion in cuts, 300 million is earmarked for reducing the number of international students. This is going to hit the UvA deeply, especially the Faculty of Economics and Business, the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, the Faculty of Humanities, the PPLE programme and the AUC, where internationalisation, especially in the bachelor’s, has been heavily targeted in recent years. PPLE and the AUC even exist by the grace of the mixed classroom with English as the language of instruction .”


Exactly how the Framework Agreement will play out is still “quite vague,” according to Lintsen, but in the coming months the State Budget for 2025 will be put together at the Ministries of Education and of Finance. Once it is ready, it will also be clear to the UvA how much the UvA budget will have to be cut and where the cuts will be made. “On Budget Day, (in Dutch: Prinsjesdag, the third Tuesday of September) we will know more.”