It was pretty major news among students last week: the Dutch financial markets authority AFM proposed registering student debts with the Credit Registration Office BKR from now on, so that they would have to be declared when arranging a mortgage. This caused quite a stir because, hey – a student debt is bad enough without it having to count when you want to apply for a mortgage…
Caretaker minister van Engelshoven has said that the cabinet will not adopt the AFM’s advice because registration with the BKR would be off-putting for students in need of a loan.
If you ask me, that is totally beside the point. Although a student debt comes with relatively flexible repayment rules, it is still just a debt that you must repay at some point. Whichever way you look at it, that simply does have an impact on your disposable income and so it is logical that it would affect any other loans you seek, like a mortgage.
It seems bizarre to me that it is even possible to accumulate such big debts as a student
Actually, in my view the discussion about BKR registration misses the real issue, which is the ever-mounting student debts. Today’s students borrow an average of 700 euros per month. If you assume that those students take five years to graduate, they will have accumulated a student debt of 42,000 euros. And that is the average debt for a new graduate. In other words, there are students with much higher debts than that.
It seems bizarre to me that it is even possible to accumulate such big debts as a student. But I also wonder how it’s going to be when some kind of universal ‘basic grant’ is reintroduced. Only a couple of political parties had anything in their party programme about compensation for the loan generation. And when there was a detailed proposal for compensation, the amount was negligible compared with the loan generation’s average debt.
However awful and unfair it is, I am afraid that all the loan system students are in for a hard time
However awful and unfair it is, I am afraid that all the loan system students are in for a hard time, and that we needn’t expect significant compensation for our student debts from the government. So what can we do? Sign the petition launched by #NietMijnSchuld (NotMyDebt) and then do some research on personal finances, saving and investments. The welfare state continues to disintegrate and although I would rather things were different, there is no option but to try and take care of your own finances as well as you can.
Emma Mouthaan (25) is a master’s student of Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology and is also taking a master in Writing at the VU. Emma blogs on studying and finances on the website The Stingy Student. Previously, she wrote about fashion and food.