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Commodification of Higher Education: Students, Study Loan Systems and State Aid

Alexander Hoogenboom

The main argument presented in this paper is that the application of economic principles in the higher education sector, turning higher education institutes into undertakings operating on markets, leads to the application of rules on State aid. This has consequences for the financial support systems set up for students: study grants and/or loans granted to students, on the condition that they enrol in a course of study offered by a higher education institute, may amount to indirect advantages which were at issue in Mediaset. This is, in particular, the case where existing rules distinguish between higher education providers whose courses are eligible for such funding, and those higher education providers who offer courses which are not, or less extensively, eligible for such funding. Such legislation must, it is submitted, now pass the test of State aid law.
Keywords: Advantage, Notion of undertaking, Selectivity, Mediaset

PhD Researcher at the Faculty of Law, Maastricht University.


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