‘We’re so confused by funding allocation’

The students and staff in the University Council want to know why the arts faculty is getting such a small share of the institutional pot of government money. The RUG Board refuses to say.

Every year, almost 200 million euros are divided among the various faculties. This so-called start value is meant for education and research. And every year, the faculties complain that they want more. The students and employees in the University Council would like to finally get to the bottom of it: what is this allocation based on? But nobody can tell them how it works.

‘This discussion has been going on for years. How can all the start values differ from each other so much? And why can no one explain it other than simply saying that they are historically determined?’, Bart Beijer, chairperson of the Personnel Faction, asked. The other factions agreed with him. ‘We need transparency. People want to know how these things are set up’, said Laurence Gormley of the Science Faction.

University vice-president Jan de Jeu is unwilling to provide an answer, however. He fears that once there is an explanation, arguments about the allocation will inevitably crop up. ‘And those never ever end. We don’t want to open that can of worms’, he responds.

Table from the institutional budget for 2016

Table from the institutional budget for 2016.


Over the past few years, the faculties have received funds based upon how many students are enrolled there, how many government-funded students there are, how many staff members they have and what the wages of those staff members are. ‘If you try to untangle it all, you can’t. You would have to determine how all of the previous decisions were made’, explains De Jeu.

The staff factions want the allocation to be re-examined every five years to see if the funds need to be divided differently. But De Jeu does not like that, either. ‘It’s my experience that it is impossible to figure out how to do it differently among ourselves. There were good reasons to allocate the funds they way we did. Once you start making different arrangements, there’s a discussion every single year.’


But the students and employees are not giving up that easily. They are worried about the ailing arts faculty and the deficit of employees at the law faculty. ‘I’ve never worked at a place where the student to staff ratio was as bad as here. Enough is enough. It’s a disgrace’, said Gormley.

But De Jeu remained unconvinced. He has faith in the rescue plan for the arts faculty and knows that not everyone is happy with the situation at the law faculty. ‘But we have to keep the university’s circumstances as a whole in mind, and that is why we are in favour of the current allocation. It represents stability, simplicity, and the capacity to properly react to policy changes from The Hague. I am loath to change that.’