It came as a nasty surprise to many former and current students that the interest on their loans increased from 0 to 0.46 percent this year, with plans for a further increase to 2.56 percent next year. As they hadn’t received the basic student grant, they had already borrowed more money than previous generations of students and would now be facing an interest rise on top of that.


Several political parties were willing to meet the students belonging to the ‘bad luck generation’ in the middle. MP Pieter Omtzigt proposed to decrease their interest and pay for this by cutting back the tax advantage for expats. The amendment he submitted got the majority vote in the House last night. The amendment was co-submitted by GroenLinks, PvdA, ChristenUnie and Volt.

It is not clear yet how exactly this will affect the students. According to Omtzigt, the gradual reduction of the expat scheme will save the treasury 3 million euros in 2025, rising to 194 million euros in 2029 and beyond. These savings will be used “in their entirety” to lower the interest paid by the bad luck generation. But the exact percentage and date of effect are not stated in the legislative amendment.


An ample majority of the House supported the motion by GroenLinks urging the government to take a step back and – in anticipation of a legislative amendment – freeze the interest for loan system students in 2024 to 0.46 percent. The resulting costs are to be covered by the expat scheme reduction proposed by Omtzigt. Incidentally, the latter voted against the motion because he isn’t sure his plan will yield enough funds.

Minister Dijkgraaf told the House this week that – calculated over the course of 35 years – it will cost around 9 billion euros to bring the interest for loan system students down to zero.

The amendment by D66 and SP to adjust the interest for all loan system students down to zero percent was only supported by GroenLinks, PvdA, Volt, Denk, PvdD and Bij1. The initiators wanted to finance the legislative amendment by increasing the VAT on flowers and plants and on tap water for large-scale consumers. This was to bring in 500 million euros per year.

Dutch National Students’ Association chair Demi Janssen is disappointed the zero percent proposal didn’t make it. “Now it’s important not to let students hanging and to give them financial security.” The freezing of the interest should in any case go ahead as planned, ISO thinks, also if this requires extra coverage.

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