Some first year students have wealthy parents who pay their tuition fees and buy their books for them. Anyone with a less well off Mum and Dad usually borrows money from DUO, but that’s not always a given. No one wants a loan, but the students don’t worry too much about it. “With such low interest rates, long repayment time and a good job in the future, 50,000 euros isn’t a problem.”

So how do first year students fund their studies, now that they can no longer receive a government grant? EM asked twenty freshers and discovered the following:

Three students drew up a budget beforehand with their expected income and expenditure. Often initiated and supported by their parents, but still significant. They have more information than other students who are not prepared and who find themselves taken by surprise by the costs. And only then decide whether they need a loan or not.

The bank of Mum and Dad

Many parents have promised their son or daughter that they will pay their tuition fees and buy their books. Perhaps through a monthly allowance, or by suddenly revealing the existence of a savings account which has been receiving interest for the past 18 years. Paying for somewhere to stay is usually thought to be the student’s responsibility, because they should pay for their own rent and food. However, going to live in lodgings is becoming increasingly problematic for many students due to the extra costs – something which Rotterdam has always faced.

Maximum borrowing to save

Not every first year student depends on their parents; some of them have saved money or have a part time job to pay for their studies. Some students also barefacedly said that they would borrow the maximum to put into savings and invest. It does feel slightly strange, they admit, but with the favourable interest rate and long repayment time, it should be fine.

That’s life

The first years are disappointed that they are the first to be confronted with student finance. “It was quite a shock when the decision went through: that’s going to be my year!”, says Yaren Calik, student of Pedagogical Sciences. But apparently you get used to it, because most people realise that they won’t get a contribution. Calik: “It makes a difference that many people will be borrowing money. So we’re all in the same boat.”