Dutch students use study loans as cheap savings: study

Students (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Nehajgautam ). (Students (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Nehajgautam ))

More than half of Dutch students loan more money from educational services department DUO than they need for their studies, according to a study Nibud published on Friday. Of these students, half loaned more money to save up for when they are done studying. The low interest rates on student loans is one reason for doing so, according to the researchers, NU.nl reports.

Current students fall under the new study funding system, in which the basic study grant was abolished and replaced by study loans. 73 percent of the questioned students have study debt. 60 percent borrow to pay the necessary expenses. Nearly half took out a student loan because their parents couldn't cover their study costs completely or at all.

A quarter took out the maximum loan amount without checking whether they'll need all that money. This could lead to unnecessarily high debts, Nibud warns.

Today's students consider study debt to be less of a financial problem than the students of two years ago. In 2015 almost 30 percent of students found student loans to be a financial problem. Now it's only 12 percent. 

Most students find it important to have money over when they are done studying. 65 percent of respondents save money themselves, and the parents of 20 percent save money for them. One in ten students don't save. The average saving amount is 146 euros per month. The most named reasons for saving are to have reserves for when they start looking for work and to finance their first home. 

The study also found that 56 percent of first- and second year students still live at home with their parents, compared to 39 percent in 2015. 62 percent of the current first and second years have student loans, compared to 30 percent in 2015. This large increase can be explained by the abolishment of the basic study grant. Students also receive more money from their parents. There was no increase in the proportion of students who also work, but those who do, work more hours. 

For 39 percent of students, their parents pay their studies. And 43 percent have parents who pay their health insurance.