This is what State Secretary Ollongren writes to the Lower House. Relaxation of the calculation rules is, according to her, ‘irresponsible because it puts former students at greater risk of financial problems’.

Ollongren follows the advice of the Nibud, the National Institute for Budget Information. The interest rate on study debts is currently zero percent, but what if it rises? These debts cannot weigh any lighter than they already do, according to the Nibud.

The Lower House had asked the Minister to look at it anyway it. Student debts already carry less weight than normal debts for, for example, the purchase of a car. Wouldn’t it help former students if the burden was further reduced?

Rising prices

Then students with a debt of 10,000 euros would be able to buy a house that is 3,000 euros more expensive, Ollongren calculates. With a debt of 25,000 euros, the mortgage could increase by 7,000 to 8,000 euros.

Rising house prices seem to be a bigger issue than student debts. In 2020, the price of an average house in the Netherlands rose by more than 36.000 euros to over 334.000 euros.

The abolition of the basic grant in 2015 has led to higher debts among former students. However, the conditions are quite favourable, as a result of which the loans have since been given less weight when applying for a mortgage.


Student debts are not known to the credit registration agency BKR, which allows banks to check whether applicants for mortgages are concealing debts. Students can therefore easily commit fraud when applying for a mortgage, which an estimated 15 percent do.

Minister Van Engelshoven (Education) and almost all political parties do not want these debts to be registered with the BKR, as this would increase fear of borrowing. Meanwhile, mortgage lenders have devised a way of viewing the debts anyway. However, they do still need the consent of the former students.