Organisation - June 23, 2011

Students deeper in debt

The government's share in financing students' university education has fallen considerably. The measures being taken by Mark Rutte's Cabinet will make studying at university even more expensive.

The amount the government contributes to the costs for higher education students of studying for a degree has become less and less over the past few years. An increasing proportion of the costs is being borne by the students themselves and their parents. These findings appear in a report by the Dutch National Students Association (ISO). In the report, the organization lists all the measures taken by the Cabinet and analyzes the consequences of student loans.
According to ISO, a striking result in the report is the increase in the number of current or former students with a loan or debts. The number of students taking out a loan on top of the performance-linked grant grew from 62,200 in 2003 to 102,500 in 2009. In the same period, the number of former students with long-term debts grew from 49,378 to 86,894. As a consequence the average amount owed has also risen substantially, from 7,939 euros in 2003 to 12,523 euros in 2009.
The organization has calculated how much former students spend on paying off their student loans:  borrowing 426 euros a month from DUO for four years results in a debt of 20,490 euros, and repayment means paying 4.3 percent of your salary for fifteen years.
The measures being taken by Mark Rutte's Cabinet will make studying even more expensive: take the decision to replace the basic grant by an interest-bearing loan in the Master's phase. That will mean an extra debt of 2,295 euros for every year spent in the Master's phase. Repayment over fifteen years would reduce purchasing power by an additional 0.5 percent.

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