‘The loan system generation does not benefit from this at all’

The loan system will be abolished, but students who had to borrow are hardly being given any help.
A protest against the loan system on the Malieveld in The Hague in the summer of 2021. Photo Student Alliance Wageningen Photo Student Alliance Wageningen

The lack of compensation for the loan system generation is a sore issue.

Resource columnist Emma Mouthaan (26) writes about studying and finance on her website De Skere Student (the strapped student). Recently she wrote a column about the end of the loan system, in which she pleaded to compensate students who had to use the loan system. Although she is pleased that the loan system will be abolished, she is not very positive about the coalition agreement, especially because of the lack of compensation.

‘It is very nice for future students that the loan system is ending,’ according to Mouthaan. ‘But there is no good solution for current students and graduates. That would be very ‘expensive’. Then I think: if compensating for that student debt is already expensive for the treasury as a whole, how burdensome will it be for all students and graduates who are saddled with it?!’

There is no good solution for current students and graduates.

‘Meanwhile entrepreneurs and employers all receive coronavirus support. I don’t think that is unjustified, but I do believe: it is hypocritical to allocate a lot of money for this, but leave people from the loan system generation with tens of thousands of euros in debt. This debt will cause a lot of stress. In short: the plan is completely wrong.’

A drop in the ocean

In total, one billion euros will be set aside for compensation, which seems to be about a thousand euros per student. Furthermore, loan system students and graduates have previously received a study voucher worth two thousand euros as well. Mouthaan says this won’t help them very much. ‘A voucher like this is worth next to nothing once you have graduated. Because from that moment on, you will pay an institution fee. Instead of two thousand euros, an academic year will then cost more than ten thousand euros. So you might be able to take one course with these two thousand euros.’

Behind 10-0

The National Student Union also wants much more money for students who have not received a basic study grant. Speaking to the Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau (HOP – higher education press agency), Chair Ama Boahene said: ‘It is great news that the loan system is finally coming to an end, but there should be compensation for the loan system generation.’ According to Boahene, students with sky-high debts of tens of thousands of euros are behind 10-0. ‘Not helping them with that is unacceptable.’

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