Most NL residents want to scrap interest on student loans

More than six in ten Netherlands residents think that interest on student loans should be abolished. These interest rates were reinstated this year. Among all age groups, a majority is in favor of dropping student loan interest rates to 0, although young adults, in particular, share this view, according to a survey by ANP and Kieskompas.

When the Netherlands implemented the loan system in 2015, the government promised that students could borrow for free. As of this year, however, that is no longer the case. From January 1, interest rates stood at 0.46 percent for HBO or WO students and 1.78 percent for MBO students. The Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science determines the interest rate each year. The amount is linked to the interest that the government pays on government bonds. As a result, the economic situation – such as the current high inflation – affects the interest rates on student loans.

In all provinces, a majority of those surveyed are in favor of abolishing interest rates. In the province of Groningen, with many students in the city of Groningen, this group is the largest at 70 percent. Overijssel, Utrecht, and Flevoland follow. Zeeland and Drenthe residents are least likely to favor scrapping interest on student loans, though a majority still support the idea.

Young adults, in particular, favor abolition: almost eight in ten young people between 18 and 34 want to return to borrowing for free. Political preference also significantly influences how people think about interest rates on student loans. Voters for left-wing parties predominantly favor abolition: about three-quarters of the people who voted for the SP, GroenLinks, or the PvdA in the last parliamentary election support the idea. That group is considerably smaller among voters for the ChristenUnie and CDA (both 54 percent) and the VVD (48 percent).

ANP and Kieskompas conducted the survey between 25 and 31 January among a representative group of nearly 5,000 Dutch people.

Reporting by ANP

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