BM86: Resolution on study financing for Dutch students 

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Last November, the Netherlands held elections for the House of Representatives. Currently, all parties are working to form a new government that will set the policies for the next four years. It is important that the new government commits to resolving the many issues Dutch students currently face due to these changing policies in student financing.

In 2015 the Dutch government decided to switch from a grants-based system to a system of “advantageous’ ‘ student loans with low interest rates. From the outset the LSVb and ISO, together with other organisations, have worked to reverse this decision, and in 2023, after much lobbying, grants for students were reinstated. However, the return to the old system hasn’t meant that the fnancial worries for students are over. Many students have inherited sky-high student debt from the loan system, with the average debt per student increasing with 5.000 euros since 2015.[1] On top of that, many students who started higher education under the loan system are not eligible for the reinstated grants. 

The government has conceded compensation for the students of the “loan system generation”, but the projected amounts don’t even cover half of the increased average debt. In the meantime, the interest rate on student debt has risen with a fivefold increase, a move which was widely criticized. Due to increasing study debts, students make financially motivated choices during their studies, instead of choosing what is best for their educational development, and experience increasing levels of stress, negatively impacting their well-being.

The students who are entitled to the newly reinstated universal grants temporarily receive a higher amount to help cover the heightened costs of living. However, for the coming academic year, despite a fivefold increase in interest rates on student loans, rising inflation and a tuition fee increase of over €200, a significant reduction in the basic grant is looming. In the 2024-2025 academic year, the grant will be lowered from €466,69 to €302,39 barely higher than the grant amount in 2015, when the loan system was first introduced. The added support of the temporary increase is being taken away, while living costs for students in the Netherlands are only going up. 

In 2021, the Social and Economic Council showed that a monthly grant of €476 in basics is needed to make ends meet without financial pressure, assuming the student also works 12 hours a week. These predictions haven’t taken into account the inflation we’ve seen since 2021. This reduction of the monthly grant would deal a hard blow to many students who depend on a decent basic grant to make ends meet. 

ESU strives for a higher education environment that doesn’t put financial burdens on students in order to pursue and finish their studies. And thus, ESU supports the LSVb and ISO in their call upon the Dutch government to: 

  • Permanently raise the student grant to €466,69; 
  • Ensure a fair compensation for students who had to fnance their studies through the loan system; 
  •  Work to structurally keep the interest rate on student debt at 0,46%, the rate before the five-fold increase. 



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