One in five former students are defaulting on their loans

Delft University graduates will be in demand. Photo:

One in five former students are defaulting on paying back their student loans, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday, based on its own research.

This means there has been little change since 2014/15 when NOS carried out similar research in the run-up to the abolition of student grants.

A former student is classed as defaulting if they have missed three payments and owe the agency at at least €270, NOS said.

In addition, student grant agency DUO does not have current contact details for almost 20,000 former students, which means it cannot collect some €76m in outstanding debts, NOS said.  In 2015, 22,000 former students were ‘missing’.

The total amount of money owned by former Dutch students through the student loan system reached €11.2bn last year.

The Netherlands abolished student grants in 2015 and since then all students, apart from the very poorest, have been able to borrow up to around €1,000 a month to fund their studies.

Research by family spending institute Nibud in 2017 showed that seven in 10 students have a debt when they finish their degrees. The average debt is around €20,000.

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