The average student debt has increased again last year. This is evident from Thursday’s publication figures from the CBS. At the beginning of this year, (former) students had to repay an average of 15,900 euros to the state; 700 euros more than last year. The number of people with a high student debt has also increased. The student debt of almost 300,000 people is now higher than 30,000 euros, while last year it still applied to about 270,000 people.

    The highest student debt is among people between the ages of 25 and 30. They struggle with a student debt of 20,300 euros on average. Like people over their thirties — whose average student debt is about two thousand euros lower — they generally have graduated and started to pay off the borrowed money. According to the figures from Statistics Netherlands, men do not have a higher student loan debt than women, or vice versa.

    Since the Rutte II cabinet, consisting of the VVD and the PvdA, introduced the loan system in 2015 and abolished the basic grant, the total student debt has increased sharply. While the total debt burden of (former) students in 2015 still amounted to 12.7 billion euros, it had more than doubled at the beginning of this year. The idea for the loan system originated within the PvdA, where at the beginning of this century the idea prevailed that ‘the baker did not have to pay for the education of the lawyer’s son’.

    The cabinet now wants to reintroduce the basic grant from the 2023-2024 academic year. According to the current plans, students who live away from home will receive a basic grant of 255 euros per month, students who still live at home will receive 91 euros. The bill also includes an allowance for students who have studied under the loan system. At the beginning of this week, the Council of State urged the cabinet to provide even better substantiation for the bill.