Some 100,000 fmr Dutch students can't pay their study loans

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The number of former Dutch students having problems paying the monthly repayment on their student loans is approaching 100 thousand, education agency DUO confirmed to NU.nl. Their income is too low for a mandatory monthly installment to be imposed on them, according to the news site. 

In 2009 around 30 thousand former students could not afford to pay the monthly installment on their study loans. In 2015 that increased to around 90 thousand and last year the number was close to 100 thousand. Final figures are not available yet. 

Since 2012 DUO automatically looks at former students' income to determine the monthly repayment amount. In practice, the amount a former student repays on his loan is often lower than the loan amount. The debt is canceled after 15 years. As more people are unable to pay, the government is therefore unable to collect a larger proportion of the loaned amounts.  The repayment amount is adjusted as the former students' income increases or decreases.

The income potential for former students was lowered by the economic crisis that started in 2008. The crisis resulted in many highly educated people being unemployed, and many graduates forced to take internships because no other jobs were available. The amount students borrow for studies has also been steadily increasing over the past years. Last year the average amount borrowed was around 15 thousand euros, compared to around 12 thousand euros in 2008. The abolishment of the basic study grant also means that more students need to loan money for their studies. 

Students who never received a basic study grant, which was replaced by a loan system in 2015, have different rules for repaying their study loans. They have 35 years to repay the loan and their monthly installments are lower than those of students who fell under the old system. 

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