Two student groups have threatened legal action if a new law is passed to raise interest rates on student loans. They have argued that they would be breaching a treaty signed by the Netherlands, making the increase illegal. 

The National Student Law Office (LSR) and the Intercity Student Consultation (ISO) has asked Minister Van Engelshoven to withdraw the bill that will mean that interest fees can rise, reports NOS. If this is not taken seriously, then legal action will take place, say the groups. They will call on the Senate to stop it before it goes any further.

 

Students lumped with more debt

In December it was agreed by a small majority that interest rates will rise. More interest = more debt, of course, which is not what any student wants. It’s not just the issue of being lumped with more debt that is bothering students, but it’s because it goes against the purpose of it. According to NOS, when the loan system was first introduced, the money would go towards the quality of education that students received, which complies with the treaty.

However, with this interest increase, the money made will not be placed back into the education system. The money will go towards the state treasury and the cabinet. This is why it is considered illegal. The student organisations say that signing that treaty meant that “(higher education) must be made progressively free of charge”, states NOS.

This new increase will give the government hundreds of millions of euros, all of which goes into the general (and not the education) budget. According to NOS, it also means that students will be on average 5,500 euros worse off. This will take effect for students starting in 2020.

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