A festival for your tuition fees

Brazilian student Larissa feels completely at home in Tilburg and would like to stay. She is eligible for a residence and work permit if she obtains her Master’s degree. There is only one problem: her follow-up study program cost 15,000 euros. Her friends organized a festival to raise money.

Performance during Bolsa Festival. Photo: Trijntje van de Wouw

Larissa Souza has been following the pre-Master’s in Arts and Media at Tilburg University since 2021. After this, she would like to pursue a Master’s degree in order to realize her dreams. Due to unexpected circumstances, she cannot afford the costs, over 15,000 euros. Larissa says: “My father was supposed to help me with the tuition fees, but now he has financial problems. And I didn’t get a scholarship either.”

Two of Larissa’s good friends, Iza Omlo and Sam de Zwart, would like to keep her in Tilburg and organized the Bolsa Festival at De Nachtzuster on Saturday, June 4. The Tilburg singer-songwriter Oliver Pesch performed, and there were pizzas from the Pizzamobiel. “Fortunately, I have great friends who want to help me, because I really enjoy my studies.”

The hope was to raise a total of 5,000 euros with the event and a donation page. Exactly how much was raised with the festival is not yet known. “That still needs to be calculated, it’s probably difficult to reach our goal.” In any case, the crowdfunding does not provide enough for the full tuition fee, but Larissa wants to pay most of it herself. “I have some savings and my parents can help a bit, so I expect to be able to pay for the Master’s then.”

Expensive for non-EU students

For students from outside the EU, studying in the Netherlands is expensive. The reason for this is that universities do not receive a government contribution for them. The high costs are, therefore, passed on directly to the students. Larissa: “Although I understand that European students only pay part of the tuition fees, I find it a bit unfair. If you get good study results, you should have a chance to get a scholarship, especially if you have to pay so much for it.”

“I know it’s not that simple, but greater accessibility and more people from different social and cultural backgrounds can bring in different ideas and perspectives.” She concludes, “Understanding Society, Tilburg University’s slogan, should also mean that this is understood.”

Translated by Language Center, Riet Bettonviel

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