Mr Milburn believed the £9,000 maximum tuition fees introduced by the Coalition might be deterring students “in fear of debt” from applying to university / Alamy

More than half of Dutch students say they will have to borrow money to get through university

Leaving university without debt is becoming increasingly difficult, not just for students from England and Wales, but for students overseas too.

Parents from across the Netherlands are getting gradually anxious about term-time beginning next month after the country’s First Chamber scrapped the basic grant for students, introducing a loan system instead – a move which is almost identical to that of the Conservatives’.

The country’s National Institute for Budget Information (Nibud) – an independent foundation that informs and advises on household finances – surveyed almost 3,000 students to discover almost 60 per cent plan to borrow more money now the basic grant is no longer available.

53 per cent indicated they will have to work extra hours, and a further 34 per cent said they will be forced to use up their savings if they are to make it through university.

Around 35 per cent, who had originally planned to live in student accommodation, said they will now have to live at home with family for fear of running up debt. Those students who will have to live near their university will see their average monthly outgoings reach €980 (£717), compared with just €535 (£391) for those students who will live at home.

Despite the introduction of the new loan system next month, the current structure has come under scrutiny.

Dutch news site NL Times has highlighted how figures from DUO – the education executive agency – show how, from the almost 595,000 former students who had taken out a student loan, around 32,000 could not be tracked down, meaning the government is out-of-pocket by around €88m (£64.4m).

Speaking with the country’s news service, NOS, Minister for Education, Jet Bussemaker, assured the public that the government will do all it can to ensure the system will not be abused further.

Describing how the government has planned to make repayment options more flexible, she said those who try to evade repayment will be dealt with strictly.

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