Student loans grow by €55 per second: Dutch Student organization

The national student loan debt is at its highest level ever, according to figures from education organization DUO. In total students and former students currently owe 17.6 billion euros to the state, compared to 12 billion euros five years ago, the Telegraaf reports.

On Wednesday student organization ISO launched a National Study Debt Meter to keep track of the increasing study debt. "The projected increase for the coming year is about 55 euros per second", ISO president Jan Sinnige said to the newspaper.

"With the introduction of the feudal system, the debts are just getting higher and higher. The average debtor must now repay more than 14 thousand euros, but among the nearly 700 thousand debtors there are students who are much deeper in the red." Sinnige said. "A larger study debt makes it increasingly difficult to enter the housing market. As students we then expect something in return. We want assurance that the money that comes from the elimination of the basic grant, stays in higher education. Not a cent of that money can go into another sector."

The ISO wants "fair and transparent information about studies" from the next Cabinet. "This is crucial in the prevention of high student debt.", Sinnige said to the newspaper. "Students need to know exactly what a program looks like and what their chances are of employment. There is nothing more expensive than making a wrong choice. The a student throws away thousands of euros. That's precisely why information is critical."

The student organization also calls on the government not to increase tuition fees any further. Higher tuition fees equal higher student loans and more students drowning in debt, according to ISO. 

Student union LSVb wants even more than that. The union wants tuition to be lowered. "In less than 10 years tuition increased by as much as 446 euros. From next year it will therefore be even above 2 thousand euros. The threshold to study becomes higher and higher", LSVb chairman Jarmo Berkhout said to the Telegraaf. "Add to that that housing costs have soared. This led to students falling short by an average of 460 euros per month, where in the 80's they had 300 euros left over. You simply can't work full time and study full time. Lowering tuition is nothing more than fair."

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