The total amount owed by 1.6 million former students had reached over €28 billion by the beginning of this year – a rise of €1.7 billion on 2022, according to new figures from national statistics agency CBS.
The amount owed by students has doubled since grants were scrapped in 2015. They are being re-introduced albeit lower amounts, from this academic year.
The number of people with a debt of at least €30,000 has now reached 330,000, compared with just 215,000 before grants were scrapped. Of them, 120,000 owe more than €50,000.
Former students who are now in their mid to late 20s are most likely to owe money, given they are the generation hit by the decision to scrap grants. They owe €22,900 on average.
On Monday the government announced that the interest payable on student loans will go up 500% to 2.56% for those who graduated five years ago. They had been paying 0.46%.
The interest payable on a student loan is adjusted every five years and is determined by student finance organisation Duo.
When grants were scrapped in 2015, the government agreed they should not be included in the BKR national debt registry, but there has been pressure for this to happen and both the BKR and financial sector watchdog AFM have called for change.
Former students are, however, also supposed to declare the size of their debt when applying for a mortgage.
Some students who did their degrees during the period without grants are entitled to €1,436 in compensation.
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