Work? Loan? Stress!

Do you want to help us understand the Amsterdam student’s perspective on student loans and working? Then fill out the survey of the independent research agency of the ASVA Student Union! (

Take out a student loan, work or both? That is the question that has crossed the mind of all students at one time or another. On average, studying costs almost 900 euros per month, according to the National Institute for Budget Information ( In addition to a contribution from parents and/or the income-related supplementary grant, students often pay for this by loaning money from DUO. Almost 70% of the students take out loans, and they loan an average of 700 euros per month. This adds up to be 8,400 euros per year, and 33,600 after a nominally completed university of applied sciences bachelor, or university bachelor and master. These debts have far-reaching consequences and, rightly so, create a lot of resistance, including in the form of the petition of #NietMijnSchuld (, signed more than 50,000 times and the vast majority of parties in the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives) that have opposed the loan system. In the context of the abolition of the loan system, compensation is often even mentioned.

However, it is misleading to measure the damage of the loan system only in terms of student debts and to base compensation measures on this. Figures from CBS from 2019 ( show that approximately 70% of students work alongside their studies. They earned an average of about 550 euros per month. According to the CBS youth monitor, pupils and students even worked an average of 14 hours in addition to full-time education. This is a bottleneck, because they already spent an average of about 42 hours per week on their studies ( Studying is therefore more time-consuming than a full-time working week.

A separate conversion of the CBS figures leads to the conclusion that a student would have to work about 20 hours in addition to their studies in order to graduate without student debt. A student who, out of fear of debt, has decided to work 20 hours in addition to studying may eventually have little or no student debt. Or perhaps this one and a half working week has led to study delay. On paper, this student may have a low student debt, but in effect the student has still been the victim of the current loan system.

All in all, almost every student has to find a balance between building up a large debt or half a working week next to the study with possible consequences for the study results. The ASVA research agency is conducting research to gain insight into how this assessment is made by Amsterdam students, what effect this has on study results and how the corona pandemic affects this balance. Can you help us gain a better understanding? Fill out the survey! (