Your study completed or stopped? Many students have accumulated a study debt. It must also be repaid. How does that work and what can you do about it yourself?

You do not have to pay off the first two years after your study. This is of course possible. This phase is the start-up phase . He starts in January after the calendar year that you have graduated or stopped studying.

## The repayment phase starts after two years. You are then obliged to pay an amount to STOs each month.

In how many years your student debt needs to be paid depends on your level of education and the time you started your studies:

- MBO students and students who started studying for the 2015-2016 academic year must pay off their debt within fifteen years .
- HBO and WO students who have started a bachelor’s or master’s program in or after September 2015 can repay in a maximum of thirty-five years . You also derive the student debt that you have accrued during your MBO program in (a maximum of) 35 years.
- You can choose whether you will leave in 15 or 35 years if you started a bachelor’s program at the university before the 2015/2016 academic year and start a master’s program in or after the 2015/2016 academic year.

## How much do you loose per month?

STOs determines the monthly amount at the moment that you are obliged to redeem. Based on the amount of your debt and the interest, they calculate how much you have to pay per month to have repaid your student debt in 15 or 35 years. Then that amount is compared with how much you have to pay back on the basis of your aggregate income.

Of course you can always pay more.

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Interest on the fixed-rate period from 1 January 2016

You pay interest from the first moment you receive the loan. During your study time, STOs will fix the interest rate again every calendar year. On 1 January of the year in which the repayment phase starts, STOs will always set the interest rate for five years. You pay the same amount of interest and repayment for five years. After five years the interest rate will be lower or higher. This changes the amount you pay in interest and repayment every five years.

## How high is your student debt?

The amount you have to repay consists of the total amount you have borrowed plus the interest you pay on this. You can always find the current amount of your total study debt on mijnSTOs . If you have already deducted part of it during the start-up phase, or if you release it during the repayment phase.

On STOs there is a calculation tool with which you can immediately see the consequences of your loan on your student debt. Change the amount you can borrow and you will immediately see how your total debt will change at the end of your study time.

You can request a reduction of the monthly amount . For example, because your aggregate income from two years ago (which STOs looks at) was higher than your current income. You can then change the reference year. If the reduction is approved, this will apply for one calendar year. After that year STOs will automatically request your income from the Tax Authorities. If the aggregate income is lower than a certain amount, you do not have to pay back in that year.

- Note: STOs only looks at the level of your income, not your personal expenses!
- Note: a reduction does not mean that the amount is waived. It moves up until there is a moment that you can repay it.

You can cancel the reimbursement of your study debt for a maximum of 5 years. These are called the ‘joker years’ or the relief-free period. The reason does not matter. These are the rules:

- You must apply for the redemption period before the 1st of the month in which the joker years must start.
- You can cancel the reimbursement of your study debt for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 5 years.
- The interest on your debt continues.
- The maximum repayment term of 15 or 35 years will be extended by the number of afloat-free months that you commit.

When the repayment phase has ended, any residual debt will be canceled. This is automatic, you do not have to take any action for this. Please note: if you lag behind with your monthly payments (payment arrears), the amount of debt that you have left open will not be waived.

Do you have other debts besides a student debt? Then try to make a payment arrangement. First pay the debt with the highest interest, such as overdraft at the bank. Are you unable to make an arrangement yourself? Seek help from a debt counseling authority in your municipality.

If you are more generous in your money, you can pay extra amounts or a higher amount per month. Then you can lose less in total. Because the study debt on which the interest is calculated is getting smaller. If your debt is so large that you can not pay it off in 15 or 35 years, then extra repayments will cost you more money.

If you decide to pay extra, you can submit a request to STOs to have the monthly amount recalculated.

See in the table below how much less interest you pay if you pay the same debt faster. Faster repayment is definitely worth it!

Total amount paid on interest and repayment (with repayment in 15 and 35 years, in current amounts)

Repayment 15 years | Repayment 35 years | Difference | |

debt: 21,000 euros (2.5% interest, 1.5% inflation) | € 22,719 | € 24.993 | € 2,274 |

debt: 21,000 euros (4% interest, 1.5% inflation) | € 25,441 | € 31.756 | € 6.315 |

Tip: Do you want to pay more every month? Then use internet banking to automatically transfer an amount from your account to STOs’s account every month.

## A study debt and a mortgage?

If you want to take out a mortgage, the mortgage lender asks for your student debt. A study debt is not registered with the DRTS , but it does affect how much you can borrow. Due to the repayment of the student debt, less money is left per month for, for example, mortgage payments. It is therefore important that your mortgage lender knows that you have a student debt. This way you prevent your monthly repayments from becoming too high.

Mortgage lenders have agreed that 0.75% of the total student debt from the old loan system can be seen as a monthly financial liability. For student loans from the new loan system (from 1 July 2015) this is 0.45%. This is deducted from the maximum amount of mortgage you can get.