31 October 2019 • HOP, by Bas Belleman
Rutte defends student loan system in the Senate
“I still believe it is the logical choice,” said premier Mark Rutte yesterday in the Senate about the current student loan system. But coalition partner D66 once again voiced objections.
Funnily enough, it was D66, one of the architects of the loan system, that expressed criticism during the General Political Deliberations in the Senate. Senator Annelien Bredenoord is concerned about “certain groups” of students.
She pointed to a “compilation of debts and stress” caused by binding study advice, student debt, a housing shortage and uncertainty in the labour market. She believes that youth should provide input on the future of student finance.
Implemented in September 2015, the loan system has been continuously under fire. It appears to be a source of stress for young people who are sometimes left with sky-high debts. Especially disadvantaged youth or youth with a disability would be affected by this. By now the political majority is in favour of a change in the system.
However, the government doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to take action. Premier Rutte defended the implementation of the loan system. He believes it’s a social system, especially because there is still an additional grant available. And the payment terms are quite flexible: “As I have told students on occasions: if you are unable to find a job after you graduate, you pay nothing or very little. And after a certain number of years, the rest of your debt will be forgiven.”
“I still think it’s a logical choice to invest in your own education this way,” he added. “Of course we know that there are different opinions on this issue in government, but we all agreed on this approach when we formed our government.”
The parties VVD and D66 are in favour of the loan system, whereas the ChristenUnie and CDA want to bring back the basic grant.