Having a student loan throughout your study seems like the most common thing here in the Netherlands. Every student who wants to attend university, have a beautiful room near the city center and is planning to go on a nice trip, there’s no option but having a student loan from DUO, the Dutch governmental organization that is responsible for providing student loans.
A trend of borrowing ever larger sums of money among Dutch students, seems almost unstoppable. The Dutch government caused even more debts among students by stopping the program which provided student grants to Dutch students. Yesterday, Vereniging Eigen Huis (Dutch Homeowners Association) warned that people are hiding their student loan debts when applying for a mortgage. A consequence could be that people will borrow more money than is considered responsible regarding their financial situation. EM spoke to students about having a student loan. Is it something to worry about or is having a student loan a clever idea?
Marloes Vriend, 23-year-old, Master student of Media and Culture
“Having a student loan shouldn’t be a problem at all, as long as you know what you’re doing. I opened a student loan one year ago, since I decided to live together with my boyfriend. I started borrowing this year since I moved in. I earned my money from home stock exchange as well as a few savings from my part-time jobs, which I did during my bachelor in Amsterdam. Currently working, my friend and I borrowed 1,100 euros each month. I use that money to pay my tuition and I save for when I’m done with college. I prefer to lend money during good times, I’ll get financial worries after my studies if I do not immediately find a job . Borrowing money from DUO leaves me worriless and definitely gives me some breathing space.
Harold Rijsdijk, 22-year-old Master student of Behavioral Economics
“Because I have always lived at home , I don’t need to worry about a large student debt . I’m working as an on-call employee at Campina. Annually I transfer eight months of my scholarships to my savings account. Most students have debts and that isn’t without danger. I understand that some graduates don’t tell they have a student debt when they send a mortgage request. We’ve seen what can happen in situations like that: for example professional football clubs when they have high loans and big expenditures for several years. A few months ago, I received a letter from DUO saying that I was about to start borrowing the maximum amount. I had to contact them to prevent that from happening. DUO operates like pay-tv: signing up for a loan is done within a second, but to cancel your loan takes you an hour.”
Annefleur Wouters, 23-year-old Master student of Marketing & Management
“Having a student loan works a bit like a final exam for me. Before taking it you don’t t really consider what could happen afterwards. Of course, you can feel bad for every euro you receive, but as long as you do it in a responsible way, you shouldn’t regret having a student loan. I’ve read the statement of the Vereniging Eigen Huis and I have to admit that I haven’t thought of requesting a mortgage yet. However, I can understand why some graduates don’t talk about their student debts when requesting a mortgage. After all, it’s better to tell the truth since you’ll have even higher debts when you have a higher mortgage. My parents decided to pay my bachelor, and I’m paying my masters myself. I have a monthly loan of 900 euro which I use to pay my education, dorm and bills. The money that is left at the end of each month is transferred to my savings-account. I don’t know for which purpose I’ll use the money, but maybe I’ll do a completely different course abroad.”