During the debate in the Senate on the Speech from the Throne, the Labour Party and the Party for the Animals expressed concern about the rising interest rate on student debt. In January, the interest rate will increase to 0.46 per cent for new students and 1.78 per cent for graduates. However, Labour Party senator Mei Li Vos pointed out to Rutte that ‘given the current rate of inflation and international events, this could go up to as much as 10 per cent’. With that in mind, would the government be prepared to introduce an interest rate ceiling?

If the interest rate were to rise out of all proportion, ‘we will need to discuss the matter again’, Rutte replied. “But in this instance as well, a change of tack will cost a lot of money.”


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Extremely progressive

Party for the Animals senator Niko Koffeman asked the PM whether he saw any further opportunities to provide support to students who had not received a basic student grant. “None at all”, Rutte replied firmly. “In my personal view, the student loan system worked just fine”, he continued. “If you end up on social assistance, you don’t need to repay a thing. After a certain number of years, your debt is wiped out entirely. If, on the other hand, you end up earning a decent salary, you repay at a rate depending on your income. When you think about it, it’s actually an extremely progressive system – so I’ve never really understood the complaints about the student loan system. I’ve always thought it was very social-minded.”

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