Students file lawsuit against DUO

Several dozen students are filing a lawsuit against student finance provider DUO over rising interest rates on study debts. The service allegedly did not provide enough information.

The interest rate on study debts will go to 2.56 percent next year. For years, the interest rate was zero percent and some students thought it would always remain that way. The rapid rise in interest rates caught them off guard.

They blame DUO. It should have warned better against the risks of a loan and violated its ‘duty of care’. As a result, the interest rate rise would not be lawful.


Legal advice agency ‘Legal Advise Wanted’ is filing a lawsuit in this regard, it announced (in Dutch) last October. The National Union of Students (Landelijke Studentenvakbond) supports that case. “We raise awareness of the case, help recruit students and give advice,” said president Elisa Weehuizen.

According to an ANP report, student organisation ISO would also be involved in the lawsuit. “That is not true, but we are following the case with interest,” says president Demi Janssen.

The lack of information is an old grievance against politicians, who abolished the basic study grant as of September 2015 and wanted to relieve students of their “fear of borrowing”. The then government allegedly portrayed student loans too favourably.

DUO's website. (Photo: Justyna Botor)
Interest trick

Indeed, unlike companies, DUO is not obliged to put ‘Beware, borrowing money costs money’ on its website. Several ministers also seemed to suggest that study debts would not affect the amount of a mortgage: study debts would not be registered with the Credit Registration Office.

Some 50 students have now signed up, and students can still join. “The condition is that they did not pull the interest rate trick last year,” said Weehuizen (LSVb). (HOP, BB)

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