Pretty please with a cherry on top?
I have my oral exam for English tomorrow (and am nervous as hell) and I have written out my speech. Could you please help me to find grammatical errors and bad word choices? the speech is about the financial aid for students in the Netherlands (yeah, rather boring I know) and my problem is that many words are typically Dutch and don't really have an English equivalent. Therefore I had to make up some words. The one I'm really insecure about is the word 'grant' to be used for the Dutch 'beurs'... Please help?
In the Netherlands there is a system that helps students finance their studies. Students need this, as studying is very expensive, especially when the student has to live in lodgings. Every bit of financial aid is welcome. The financial aid to students is given by the government and is financed with the taxes everybody has to pay. This financial aid is made up of several parts. The most important part of this financial aid is the main grant. There is also the OV-year card. The student may get more money if their parents earn very little money in the form of a supplemental grant. This means that not every student can get this supplemental grant. A student can loan more money if necessary instead.
Every student has the right to receive financial aid unless they themselves earn more than 13 000 euros per year.
The main grant is a fixed amount of money a student receives each month. How much money a student receives depends on whether or not they live in lodgings. If they do, they receive more money than when they live in their parents home. As long as the study is successfully completed within ten years the grant is a gift. If this is not the case, the grant turns into a loan and has to be repaid to the government.
The OV-year card is a card that enables all students to travel with public transport either with a large discount or for free, depending on when the student chooses to travel. A student can choose between a weekend card and a weekday card. The card enables the holder to travel for free during fixed times. One can still travel on other times with a discount of 40 %.
Besides the main grant and, in some cases, the supplemental grant a student can get a loan at a low rate of interest. This loan has to be paid back within 15 years after finishing the study. Most students need this loan to help them finance their study.
The financial aid for students is needed as studying costs a lot of money. Especially living in lodgings is very expensive as lodging prices are high. Besides, a student also has to pay for their books, Internet, electricity, water and of course their food. All financial aid is more than welcome. Thats why most students have a job or a loan to help them with their finances.
The government recently decided to moderate the financial aid for students. They even considered replacing the entire system with a loan system, in which each student would have to loan money for their entire study. To introduce a loan system instead of the current system would save the government a billion euros.
An argument in favour of the abolition of the financial aid system is that every person has to pay taxes to finance the students study. Which means that the common baker has to pay for the students study, who will earn a more money than he will ever do. Would it not be fairer if the student paid back the money he got during his study when he has a good job?
But then, why would it be so much of a problem to help a student finance their study? Students too will pay taxes to help the unemployed and the retired people. Thanks to their studies, students can get a better job and helping them is like making an investment in the future. According to a national poll 85 % of the Dutch people prefer to keep the financial aid system the way it currently is.
The Dutch government wants the Netherlands to have an economy based on knowledge. Meanwhile they moderate on students and education. For example, the tuition fees have been raised. The result will be that universities will become less accessible, especially for people who want to study, but are short on money. They will have to choose between either getting educated, but having a huge debt by the time they finish their study or not going to university at all and instead finding a job and earn money. This is not very desirable for an economy based on knowledge.
An other argument one hears often is that students can do with less financial aid. Instead they should just spend more time earning money. However, this is a very bad idea, as earning money takes a lot of time and this time should be spent on studying. Besides, many students already have a job.
Fortunately the government decided not to abolish the financial aid system. They did however alter the duration of the aid: instead of four years, a student can now get financial aid for only three years. They will have to loan money to be able to finish the fourth and often last year of their study.