4 June 2019 • HOP, Inge Schouten
Plans dropped to hike student-loan interest rate
It’s official: the bill calling for an increase in the interest rate on student loans has been definitively withdrawn. Minister Van Engelshoven received too little support from the Senate.
Last year, the House of Representatives approved the plan to increase the interest rate on student loans from 2020 by the smallest possible majority. The cabinet wanted to link the interest to the 10-year fixed rate on government loans, which would result in former students with an average loan amount (21K euros) and an above-average income having to pay around 12 euros more in interest each month. The plan was intended to bring in some 226 million euros for the treasury each year.
Yet last week, the Senate saw little benefit in the bill proposed by Van Engelshoven and feared for the accessibility of higher education. Even her own D66 group and the one-man party Duthler, who could have prevented a majority with her vote, remained unconvinced.
The minister took her bill back for deliberation in the cabinet. Today, she has withdrawn the bill entirely. “During the plenary discussion, I concluded that insufficient support exists for this bill,” she wrote in a statement issued today.
The student unions are pleased with the news. Tom van den Brink, chair of the Dutch National Student Association (ISO), had the following to say: “We supplied stiff criticism for nearly a year, and we have been heard. This is a huge victory for students and for the accessibility to [higher] education.”
Carline van Breugel, Chair of the Dutch National Student Union, said, “In the past year, we fought quite hard against the proposed interest hike. Now that we’ve succeeded, students can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Ingrid van Engelshoven, Minister of Education, Culture and Science