In one decade, public spending on student grants and loans has risen from 1.8 billion euro in 1996 to 3.5 billion euro in 2006. Corrected for inflation, the increase is 53 percent. The growing student population, more students applying for grants and loans, higher standard allowances and advanced payment of the public transport student travel pass contributed to the increase.
More student loans granted
In 2006, students in secondary vocational education (mbo) and higher education received a total amount of 1.9 billion euro in grants and 1.6 billion euro in loans. The share of loans has risen considerably from 16 percent in 1996 to 47 percent in 2006.
Outstanding loans in higher education have increased substantially from over 200 million euro in 1996 to nearly 1.4 billion euro in 2006. This is due to the introduction of the performance-related grant in 1996. The Dutch system of student grants and loans basically consists of loans. In the case of timely graduation, repayment is not required. In practice, the loan is almost entirely converted into a grant. In 2005, the system of performance-related grants was also introduced in mbo.
In the study year 2007/’08, the system was expanded to include tuition fee loans. Students can borrow the money charged for tuition. Thus, the system of student grants and loans is directly linked to the tuition fee.
Total public spending on study loans and grants
International agreement with English-speaking countries
Tuition fees in the Netherlands are comparatively high, but the Dutch system of student grants and loans also provides ample financial support to students of limited means. Nearly all students (96 percent) receive grants and/or loans, absorbing over one quarter of public spending on higher education, a high percentage in an international perspective. The Netherlands most resembles the English-speaking world in this respect.
Average tuition fee and proportion of students receiving loans and grants, 2004/’05
Public spending on higher education, 2004
Daniëlle Andarabi–van Klaveren