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Pieter Slaman on NOS.nl on political support for Dutch student loan system

The student loan system, implemented in 2015 in part to improve the quality of Dutch education, is facing political backlash. Despite having signed the student loan system agreement in 2015, both GroenLinks and PvdA have had a change of heart.

The implementation of a social student loan system has been a long cherished wish of the PvdA, according to Pieter Slaman, Assistant Professor at the Dual PhD Centre of Leiden University. ‘Ever since the ‘70s there had been this assumption that rich people benefitted more from the basic grant because most students came from higher income groups.’ It wasn’t until 2015 that the social student loan system became a reality. But the loan system was not presented as an austerity measure but as a policy change that would improve the quality of Dutch education. Without noticeable results, says Slaman: ‘The money saved by the loan system was mainly used to solve personnel issues. If we are to believe universities, the number of teachers per number of students today is the same as it was back then.’

Slaman believes it would not be a good idea to immediately abolish the social student loan system and return to the basic grant: ‘Both for continuity as well as students’ financial security it would not be wise to drastically change the system once again. The government needs to come up with a reliable long-term vision.’ Slaman argues that it is also important to solve the kinks in the current loan system such as students continuing to live with their parents, low interest rates, and difficulties buying a home.

You can read the full article (in Dutch) on the NOS

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