More students taking out higher student loans

© Hollandse Hoogte
In 2019, the total amount borrowed by former and current students in the Netherlands stood at 19.3 billion euros, i.e. 1.9 billion more than in the previous year. Total student debt is increasing every year. Especially since 2015 - the year in which a new student loan system was introduced - more and more students have been taking out loans. In addition, the average debt per student has increased more rapidly. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures.

In September 2015, the Netherlands adopted a new student loan system. This new loan system replaced the basic study grant as a social benefit. However, additional study grants for children from parents on a low income continued to exist. The average student loan debt has risen since then, from 12.4 thousand euros in 2015 to 13.7 thousand euros in 2019. The number of borrowers went up as well: in 2019, altogether 1.4 million people had a student loan debt, 388 thousand more than at the start of 2015.

Total student loan debt and borrowers with student debt, 1 January
JaarStudent loan debtBorrowers with student debt
*provisional figures

Younger generations have higher debts

The younger the generation of students, the higher the average debt level per student. For example, students born in 2000 will have built up an average 2.7 thousand euros in student loans by the age of 18. This was 1.5 thousand euros on average at age 18 for the generation of students born in 1994. Younger generations are also more likely to have accumulated debt than older ones. Of the group of students born in 2000, 34 thousand took out loans at the age of 18 to pay for their studies. This is nearly three times as many as among the group of students born in 1994.

More rapidly growing debt among students under the loan system

Compared to previous generations of students, those in the youngest age groups (born in 1998 and 1999), who are fully covered by the new loan system, have seen a sharper rise in average debt levels. The average debt among students born in 1998 had more than tripled after borrowing for two years: from 2.5 thousand euros at the age of 18 to 8 thousand euros at the age of 20. This is more than among earlier generations of students. For example, the average debt rose less rapidly among students born in 1994: from 1.5 thousand euros at the age of 18 to 4.1 thousand euros at the age of 20.

Average student loan debt by age, per year of birth
Leeftijd1994 (x 1,000 euros)1995 (x 1,000 euros)1996 (x 1,000 euros)1997 (x 1,000 euros)1998 (x 1,000 euros)1999 (x 1,000 euros)2000 (x 1,000 euros)

Persons with a student debt by age, per year of birth
Leeftijd1994 (x 1,000)1995 (x 1,000)1996 (x 1,000)1997 (x 1,000)1998 (x 1,000)1999 (x 1,000)2000 (x 1,000)

Male students borrow more

Current and former students with a student loan debt are slightly more likely to be male than female: 51 versus 49 percent. In 2019, the average student loan debt among men amounted to 13.9 thousand euros. At 13.4 thousand euros, the amount was slightly lower among women. The average student debt has increased among both men and women since 2015.

Average student debt per person, 1 January
JaarMen (x 1,000 euros)Women (x 1,000 euros)
* provisional figures