Students owe €24bn in loans, but average debt remains €15,000

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Students owe €24bn in loans, but average debt remains €15,000

Photo: Bart van Overbeeke / Hollandse Hoogte

Dutch students owed a combined €24.4bn at the start of this year, as more students started a university and college course.

The total amount of student debt rose 7% compared with 2020, according to new figures from national statistics office CBS.

More students started a degree course last year because coronavirus had made it almost impossible to take a gap year. In addition, the decision to scrap national school leaving exams led to a higher overall pass rate, allowing more students to study further.

Some 1.6 million people now have a loan to pay back, a rise of 100,000 on 2020, but the average debt remains around €15,000.

The total debt has doubled since 2015 when grants were scrapped for all but the very poorest students. However, all four parties currently in talks on forming a new government are known to back a revision of the current system.

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