Caribbean students have higher debts 

Caribbean students have higher debts 



Students from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have high study debts and payment arrears. When they study in the Netherlands they receive the same study financing as Dutch students. But afterwards they more often run into financial problems, according to a letter (in Dutch) from Minister Dijkgraaf to the Lower House. The National Ombudsman also addressed the problem in 2020 in the report Kopzorgen van Caribische studenten (in Dutch).


The six islands count almost ten thousand former students with arrears. The average arrears are highest on St. Maarten: 13,630 euros. There, moreover, 75 percent of all debtors are in arrears. On the other islands it is about 62 to 70 percent. In comparison, only 16 percent of Dutch debtors are behind with their payments.


So what is going wrong? Former students from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom rarely appeal to income compensation. If you earn little, you need to repay less. They do have to request this calculation themselves. In the Netherlands DUO automatically looks at the financial capability, because DUO receives the income data from the tax authorities.


Minister Dijkgraaf thinks that many debtors actually have to pay back less or even nothing at all based on their income. That’s why DUO is fully committed to informing and encouraging people to request the financial capability calculation, he writes. DUO sends letters and emails to the (former) students and holds information meetings on the islands. These handouts are not always effective.


Read more about the problems faced by Caribbean students in the Netherlands here.



HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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