Student debts increasing due to coronavirus
Many more young people started studying, and as a result, the joint student debt increased further this year. The cause is the coronavirus. According to Statistics Netherlands, the pass rates were exceptionally high in the 2019/2020 school year, partly because the written final exam was canceled. Moreover, a gap year was hardly possible and young people therefore immediately went to study.
The total student debt of current and former students increased to 24.4 billion euros at the beginning of 2021. That is 1.6 billion euros or 7 percent more than a year earlier. In total, 1.6 million Netherlands residents have student debt. The average loan did not increase for the first time in five years and remained 15,200 euros.
In the 2019 and 2020 school year, almost all final exam pupils took home a diploma. The written final exam was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The final grade for each subject was, therefore, determined based on the school exams.
Since 2015, the total student debt has doubled. In that year, the basic study grant was abolished. Students can still take out a loan from the government on favorable terms to pay for their studies. Only young people with less wealthy parents are entitled to a supplementary grant.
The average student debt of young people up to the age of 20 amounted to 2,600 euros at the beginning of this year, 30 percent lower than in 2020. The average student loan for 25 to 30-year-olds increased by 5 percent to 19,100 euros. Most people in this age group have already completed their studies and started paying off their loans.
Earlier this year, the National Institute for Budget Information (Nibud) reported that students have become more financially dependent on their parents. In more cases, they are financially supported from the parental home and also for larger amounts. The institute is concerned about the financial situation of students who cannot rely on their parents.
Reporting by ANP