Outstanding student loan debt in the Netherlands has reached a new record high of €17.6bn, 46 percent higher than the €12bn owed just five years ago, according to DutchNews.nl.
Jan Sinnige, chairman of ISO, a student organization group in the Netherlands, said that rising student loan debt in the country is due to the new system that the borrowers use to take out loans. That system has resulted in the roughly 700,000 borrowers seeing their average student debt increase to €14,000, or $14,974 USD.
ISO is gearing up to roll out a debt meter to hone in on the impact of student debt and Sinnige said the meter is likely to show student debt increases by 55 eurocents each second. Sinnige wants lawmakers to better inform students about the true cost of earning a college degree. Meanwhile, Jarmo Berkhout, chairman of student union LDvb, is calling on lawmakers to lower the fees associated with tuition to help combat the rising debt.
The calls for lower tuition fees and more student loan education for borrowers parallels some of the student debt reform legislation that is making the rounds on Capitol Hill. A slew of Democrats and some Republicans argue if students and families were more informed about the true cost of financing their higher education, they may think twice about taking out loans.
The United States now collectively owes over $1.4 trillion and the average borrower from the Class of 2015 graduated with $28,400, much higher than in the Netherlands.
Some lawmakers think that student loan related education alone will be enough to make an impact while others are calling for more comprehensive reform including lowering interest rates on federal student loans, the ability to refinance federal loans, enhancements to Pell Grants, and increased student loan forgiveness.
Although lawmakers don’t see eye-to-eye on all of the proposals, most agree student loan debt has reached crisis levels in the U.S. and is having a direct negative impact on the economy. After all countless people are holding back from purchasing homes, buying cars, starting businesses, and saving for retirement all because of the loans they took out to attend college.
Author: Donna Fuscaldo
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