If it were up to Jet Bussemaker, the Dutch Minister for Education, there will be a three-year experiment concerning the suggested European study loans before its implementation. Then the budget can be cut in half for now. The Dutch House of Representatives is happy with this idea.

In addition to the Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom) and the Socialist Party, also the governing party VVD was skeptical regarding the globalization policy of the Minister. Why does she support the plan to have the European Union guarantee study loans for master students who want to study abroad? For Dutch master students this plan does not have any added value since they can take their study financing with them abroad already.

Education and the State Treasury

Minister Bussemaker acknowledges this skepticism, but repeated that she still supports the plan because more foreign master students will be able to study in the Netherlands with a European loan system. That has a positive effect on both the Dutch higher education and – as the Centraal Planbureau (an independent research institute that makes economic policy analyses) calculated – it will be beneficial for the State Treasury. Bussemaker does argue that before implementing a European loan system, a three-year experiment is required and the budget of 880 million Euros should be cut in half. Her European colleague-Ministers for Educations would share this opinion.

Banks are not excited

The conditions that banks have to uphold for loaning money to European master students would have to look similar to the already existing Dutch loan system for students; costumer friendly and with low interest. However, different members of the Parliament’s House of Representatives wondered if banks would even be interested in such conditions. Especially when it seems that foreign students in the United Kingdom do not pay off their study debt. A research that Minister Bussemaker herself initiated concerning European loan systems showed that this is indeed one of the reasons why Dutch banks are not excited to cooperate and join this plan.

Direct debit abroad

Minister Bussemaker did not go in debt and emphasized that also in the Netherlands a lot of manpower is used to track down foreign students with a study debt that needs to be paid. Bussemaker already assigned DUO the task to fortify and strengthen its direct debit abroad. A “taskforce of ten men” has been put on the job. Before the summer recess Bussemaker will report about the process to the House of Representatives. HOP/NdB