Cheaper university education, Dutch solution

Paying Back a student loan

The UK government has raised the amount graduates have to earn before they must begin paying back their student loan from £21,000 to £25,000. It may seem like a relatively modest increase. But raising the earning threshold could save student £15,700 over their lifetimes. The difference will cost the Treasury an estimated £2.3 billion per year, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The threshold rise, possibly an attempt by Theresa May’s Conservative Party to attract younger voters, will also mean that 83% of students will never pay back all their debts. A fact that has caused quite a stir in the UK press. despite those writing the articles having undoubtedly gone through the university system for free.

Student loan interest

Perhaps the scariest aspect of the whole undergraduate loan business is that interest is charged the moment the student starts the course. This means students will owe on average £5,800 ($7,800) just in interest charges before they have even left university (according to the IFS). We looked at the payback figures in a previous blog, but that’s a pretty startling figure.

High-income earnings who pay their entire student loan back could end up paying £40,000 just in interest.

Cheaper university education

In Europe, university tuition is free (or with very low fees) in Germany, France, Belgium Austria and Slovenia and the Nordic countries. The Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, and Greece also offer inexpensive further education for EU students with low-cost university fees for all world students … though obviously, classes taught in English will be limited.

Because of the language issue, the Netherlands has become a popular choice for British students who are looking for high-quality education at low fees. For EU students, tuition costs just £1,700 per year at Dutch universities.

Repayment of any loans (including tuition or maintenance) starts two years after graduation and repayments are capped at 4% of gross income over minimum wage – with the majority of courses taught in English.

Figures from the information body Study in Holland show that taking loans, accommodation, tuition and living cost into consideration, Dutch universities are approximately half the price of English ones. There are currently around 2,800 British students at Dutch universities.



With twenty years’ experience as an international journalist and travel writer, Jon Bryant has written for The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and The Times. He also teaches journalism at the EDJ in Nice, France. He is the co-author of the Financial literacy book for children ‘It Doesn’t Grow On Trees’.