Dutch socialist youth call for overhaul of student loan system

Following a recent study on student indebtedness, a political consensus is building around the need to change the student loan scheme. The ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy is the only major force advocating the current system

July 07, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
The Dutch socialist youth group, ROOD: jong in de SP, called for the restoration of the basic grant system for students.

On July 3, Friday, the socialist youth group in the Netherlands, ROOD: jong in de SP (RED: Socialist Party youth), renewed its call for the abolition of the student loan system currently in place. It also called for a basic grant for students. This comes even as a political consensus is building around the abolition of the student loan system following a recent study.

The study on the student loan system which has been in place since 2015 was published by the independent research institute ResearchNed. It showed that while borrowing is not a barrier to studying, most students have an average debt of around 25,000 euros after their education.

In response to the evaluation report, the liberal D66 party, which is a coalition partner in the current government, also called for an overhaul of the current system. With this, almost all major political parties in the Netherlands – Christian Democratic Appeal, ChristenUnie, Party for Freedom, the Socialist Party, Labour Party, GroenLinks, Forum for Democracy, Think, 50Plus, Party for the Future and the Reformed Political Party (SGP) – are in favor of changing the current system, according to NOS.nl. Only the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, which is the majority partner in the ruling coalition, supports the current system.

On Friday, ROOD, jong in de SP, which is the youth wing of the Socialist Party, posted on Facebook that after a long resistance by students, almost every political party had given in to their demands. “But beautiful words are not enough to make debt-free study possible,” the group said, calling for action to ensure that a basic fair compensation for the indebted generation is achieved.

The basic grant system in place since 2015 provided for about 260 euros per month for students who lived away from home. It was replaced by the Official Student Loan system that gave students the option of borrowing up to Euros 1016 a month. The amount had to be paid within 15-35 years (based on the terms of the loan). Students from “disadvantaged homes” were given the option of applying for an additional grant. The student debt was a factor while applying for a mortgage.

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