Total student debt will be 33 billion euros

The new loan system will result in the total student debt in the Netherlands eventually rising to around 33 billion euros. After their studies, those who borrow from DUO will be on average 25,000 euros in the red.

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The minister did not include the expected total amount in previous information on the student debt, but at the insistence of CDA and ChristenUnie (coalition parties, but also opponents of the loan system) she has subsequently released it.

You have to do the last sum yourself, however. The minister reports that the total student debt at the end of 2015 was almost 15.8 billion euros. The new loan system is expected to increase that debt by 17 billion euros, she writes.

35 years

In the loan system introduced in 2015, students no longer receive a basic student grant. Consequently, they have to borrow more. Moreover, the debt runs for longer; former students do not get fifteen years, but thirty-five years to repay their loan.

The minister expects a repayment rate of 86.4 percent. The remainder will be waived, she writes, because former students sometimes earn too little to pay off their student debt within 35 years.

Around 28 percent of students do not borrow from DUO. The rest owe an average of 25,000 euros at the end of their studies. The loan amounts are slightly lower than the number-crunchers had “cautiously” calculated.

Drop out

These former students are not all graduates. The figures also include former students who, for whatever reason, drop out prematurely but have borrowed from DUO in their student years.

The loan system was introduced by the previous VVD and PvdA government, with the support of D66 and GroenLinks. Of those parties, only VVD still supports the new loan system. The other three have since rejected it and are calling for the reintroduction of student grants, at least for some students.

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