Students from average-income households hit hardest by loan system

Students from middle-income households are worst off after the introduction of the student loan system. They often receive no grants, and their parents can't contribute much to their study costs. As a result, this group is financially worse off than students with parents from lower and higher income groups, student organization ISO concluded based on a survey by I&O Research, the Volkskrant reports.

When the loan system was introduced, and the basic study grant abolished in 2015, there were concerns about students from the lowest income groups. Critics feared that study debts would scare them away from their studies. But according to ISO, with the exception of a small group of HAVO students from families on welfare, this did not happen. 

And students from low income families are also not the worst off. According to the student organization, they can count more on from supplementary grants and contributions from parents than students from average-income families. "The government assumes that parents contribute to the studies of their child," ISO chairman Kees Gillesse said to the Volkskrant. "That happens, but not as much as is assumed with middle incomes, our research shows. Sometimes parents do not even contribute at all." According to him, students from this group have to borrow more and end up with higher debts

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science told the newspaper in response that the results of this ISO study will be "taken into account" in the current evaluation of the effects of the loan system. "If bottlenecks arise, we will see if and how we can adjust." The spokesperson also pointed out that the ISO study showed that "the accessibility of higher education is guaranteed by the loan system with the increased supplementary grant."

According to ISO, its study showed that the supplementary grant must be expanded so that more students are entitled to it.

Political support for the student loan system has crumbled over the past years, with only the D66 and VVD still standing behind it, according to the newspaper.