Student debt reaches almost €16bn as interest rate is cut to zero

Students in Delft. Photo:

The interest rate on student loans is being cut to 0% next year, but the total debt accumulated by students has now reached almost €16bn, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday.

That is a rise of almost 60% compared with 2010, the paper said. Student grants were scrapped at the start of the last academic year.

According to figures from student loan body DUO, two-thirds of university and college students have taken out a loan to help pay for their studies. In total, 791,000 students and former students have a debt to repay.

Last year, family spending institute Nibud said the low interest rate on loans was prompting many students to borrow money to save or spend on non-study related items.

On average a student has built up a debt of €15,000 when graduating, but experts say this will rise to €21,000 because grants have now been scrapped and students have to borrow more.