The study debt of many Dutch but also international students who borrow from DUO is “irresponsibly high”, according to student organisation the ISO. The ‘Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg’, (ISO) – is an association for students in all Dutch student cities.
The association’s remarks come as a response to a study by the Centraal Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the statistical research agency in the Netherlands. The CBS has calculated that the total study debt of all Dutch students, former students and current students has risen to 19.3 billion euros; 1.9 billion euros more than one year before. The average study debt has risen to 13,700 euros per person.
The fact that the ISO is concerned about the level of the study debt is because four years ago, a new system for student finance was introduced in the Netherlands. This brought in a loan system, and since then students in the Netherlands have to borrow almost everything, rather than apply for grants. This borrowing is at a low interest rate, and ex-students are able to pay off the loan over the course of several decades.
But although the conditions for borrowing are favourable, the debts of the students still runs too high, according to ISO. Chairman of the ISO, Kees Gillesse, says in the Dagblad van het Noorden on Tuesday 8 October that an entire generation is now growing up with the idea that it would be normal to make large study debts, but according to the ISO it is not.
The ISO wants to see the 2015 loan system abolished again, and a return to the basic grant system. Incidentally, there is also increasing resistance in the Dutch parliament to the rise in student loans.