The Erasmus Trustfonds Scholarship Programme
Students who don’t have the financial means to do a Master programme at Erasmus University can now turn to the Trustfonds Scholarship Programme. Mijke Zeegers explains.
TEXT: Marjolein Stormezand
PHOTO: © Antim Photography
Mijke Zeegers’ official title at Erasmus University is ‘Business Developer International Education’. In other words: she helps teachers design educational programmes that involve international partners.
In 2016, Zeegers made a proposal at the Erasmus Trustfonds to subsidise (initially international) students who for whatever reason couldn't afford enrolling with an MA programme. That scholarship has been realised: the Erasmus Trustfonds Scholarship Programme. Not only ideal for new students looking for extra support, but also a new way to put Erasmus University on the map internationally.
This isn’t the first scholarship aimed at helping students: there used to be the Holland Scholarship Programme. This scholarship awarded students a total of five-thousand euro. For international students, this scholarship was not enough to cover the full trajectory of their education. This often meant that international students decided not to apply, and that the university missed out on potentially excellent students – so says Zeegers.
And so the Trustfonds Scholarship Programme was born: a scholarship of fifteen-thousand euro, which is made up of donations. It might sound like that’s a one-sided form of support, but according to Zeegers that’s far from the case: ‘It’s an opportunity for alumni to give back to the university. At the same time it gives young people access to good career opportunities.’ Anonymous donations are possible, but often the donors choose to get in touch with the students – a kind of mentorship. The donor can even propose the sort of student they’d like the scholarship to go to. ‘For example, the donor will have a company in China and that’s why they’re interested in supporting students from that country in developing a specific expertise. Which of course is possible,’ explains Zeegers.
In the last year, four students have started studying thanks to the Trustfonds Scholarship. The year before it was two students. In total there have been eight students who have entered into an MA programme at the university, which means that each faculty has received a grant. The goal is to up this number to fifty students a year. But how do you achieve this as a university? By appealing to donors, of course. The university is blessed with a talented collective of alumni, many of whom have achieved a good amount of fame. But that on its own is not enough to make the programme work. Zeegers and her colleagues also visit different international fairs and other universities in order to put Rotterdam’s university – and its innovative educational offers – on the map.
However, it’s not only donations that make up the scholarship. A good part of it comes from the Erasmus Charity Run: a run organised by students as a part of the Rotterdam Marathon. The university is currently monitoring the tangible outcome of the scholarship. Zeegers: ‘The goal is to build a track record over the coming years, show donors the effect of their donation, show them that every donation definitely makes a difference in the life of a student.’
Who: Mijke Zeegers
Career: Business Developer International Education
Do you want to sign up as a donor or get more information on the Erasmus Trustfonds Programme? Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org