Minister of the Interior Ollongren feels that in to order prevent people from ending up with financial problems due to taking out a mortgage beyond their means, it is important to take student loan debt into account when calculating a mortgage loan.

The mortgage sector would prefer that the loans be registered with the Credit Registration Office (BKR), but this was blocked by Jet Bussemaker, who was the minister when the student loan system was introduced. It was believed that such a move would fuel unnecessary anxiety when taking out loans.

Broken promises

In a letter to the Lower House on Friday, Ollongren wrote that while she agrees with this stance, she is a proponent of making an adjustment in the system to make it easier to check whether someone has student loan debt. Once the necessary changes have been implemented, banks can ask their customers for an official statement from DUO showing whether the customer has student loan debt and how much is owed. Former students will have to personally request this information from DUO. They can choose not to do this, but they then run the risk of being refused a mortgage loan.

“The promise to provide a fair student loan system has been broken once again today”, said Kees Gillese, a candidate for chair of the Dutch National Student Association. “The option of requesting a declaration of debt from DUO is nothing more than registration with the BKR in disguise.” He is concerned that this measure will jeopardise accessibility to higher education.