Legal Advice Wanted, an advisory firm, is taking the Dutch State to court, alleging that the government has not adequately informed students about the height of the interest on their student loans. Meanwhile, the National Student Union is preparing for a protest.
HvA, October 12, 2023, Imran Ahayetan
Legal Advice Wanted, an advisory firm, is taking the Dutch State to court because the government allegedly did not adequately inform students about the increase in the interest on their student loans. Meanwhile, the National Student Union is preparing for a protest.
As of January 1, 2024, the interest on student loans will increase fivefold, from 0.46% to 2.56%. This increase is not arbitrary; the government is adjusting for the rising interest on loans they provide. However, for some students, this means they will pay hundreds of extra euros annually on their loan with DUO.
Legal Advice Wanted (LAW) believes that the government has not fulfilled its duty of care and is therefore filing a lawsuit against the State. The ultimate goal of the lawsuit is to undo the prejudiced interest rate hike.
“The interest itself is not a problem per se, only students are not informed about it at all,” said LAW spokesperson Jaap Kotteman on Radio 1. He refers to the fact that, among others, former Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker in 2012 urged not to be afraid to borrow money during your studies, implying that the interest on the loan would remain low.
Earlier, LAW already filed a lawsuit over the fact that students had applied for energy allowance from the municipality but did not receive it.
The National Student Union (LSVb) has announced a protest on October 25 against the increase in student loan interest. With this protest, they advocate for the forgiveness of debts that students have accumulated. They also want zero interest on loans and a higher basic grant.
Education Minister Robert Dijkgraaf is aware that the interest rate hike is causing a lot of panic among (former) students. However, he also warns that such an increase or decrease in the interest rate could cost billions of euros. Dijkgraaf will therefore investigate the exact cost and has promised the House of Representatives to provide the data in a way that allows them to participate in discussions about possible compensation.