Photo caption: Students already provided information about the university to primary and secondary school students in 2008. Photo by: Ublad/Maarten Hartman

Grants for students who set 'underprivileged' schoolchildren on the right path

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Twenty projects ‘by and for’ students have received grants to improve the study successes of ‘vulnerable groups’. What they have in common is that students learn from each other's experiences. Two projects within Utrecht University receive money as well.

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Last year, the campaign Students-4-Students was launched by then Education Minister Jet Bussemaker to improve the intake, study success and equality of opportunity. Especially students with migration backgrounds and so-called first-generation students – the first in their families to attend higher education – too often drop out prematurely. The idea is that role models of comparable backgrounds could give them a helping hand.

Dutch universities of applied sciences, universities and students could submit project proposals to apply for a financial contribution: the maximum fund per institution was 300,000 euros and the maximum fund per student project was 50,000 euros. 17 applications were submitted in both categories, making 34 in total.

UU received 130,000 euros for a project that aims to involve students with migration backgrounds in university matters from primary education onwards. The new buddy programme Debuut, in which Utrecht-based students supervise talented students, is part of the project. The intention is that UU students will also develop new activities for students in secondary education.

Besides that, two students of gender studies came up with the idea of ‘privilege workshops’ in which students have dialogues on diversity issues within the university. This initiative will receive funding as well.

“The project was especially successful among students,” says Josefien van Marlen of expertise centre Echo, which coordinates the campaign. According to her, the interest for the project was so big that a part of the money for institutional projects was transferred to the student budget. Echo currently consults with OCW on how the remaining resources – a total of four million euros were available – can be used most efficiently.

Translation: Wouter Beentjes

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