From 1 January next year, students will be obliged to pay 0.46 percent interest on their student debt. And interest rates are expected to rise further. That got some keen-minded students thinking.

Splitting loans

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Joep de Jong, a maths student at TU Delft, realised that the Education Executive Agency DUO splits the loans of students who pause their student financing to go on a gap year. When this happens, DUO freezes the interest they pay on the first part of their loan for five years. This led Joep to wonder if the same rule applies to students who pause their financing for a month.

The answer is yes, he tells reporters at Delta, TU Delft’s journalism platform. Other students have also discovered the trick. Student Michiel Boeren devoted a LinkedIn post to the subject, while reporters at NOS op 3 heard the news from student Casper de Haes.

 

Both Delta and NOS provide a sample calculation showing how students with a sizeable debt can save thousands of euros by splitting it in two.

Watch out

A DUO spokesperson confirms to Delta that this ‘trick’ is possible, but points out that students who split their loan like this also miss out on one month of student financing, including travel entitlement and any supplementary grant they might receive. “Those extra costs have to outweigh the amount you expect to save.”

She also warns that students need to stop and reapply for their student loans on time. And students approaching thirty really need to watch out. “If you are over thirty you can no longer reapply for student financing. So in some cases, it may be better to stick with the loan you have.”

Exactly how many students will end up making use of the trick remains to be seen. In any case, the articles giving students the low-down have been widely liked and shared on Instagram.

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