Student loans lead to unhappiness

The loans system is affecting students emotionally. Students who borrow money often suffer from fatigue and emotional exhaustion. They are afraid of burning out.
By Thereza Langeler / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

A study by research agency Motivaction, acting on behalf of the Intercity Student Consultation (ISO), showed this. Motivaction questioned 563 university of applied sciences and research university students. Almost half of those students borrow money, often because they have no other choice. Sixty-nine percent of all the students who borrow money do so to pay for their education.

The researchers asked the students about their well-being: how do they usually feel, are they healthy, are they happy with their study progress? The loans system appears to be a bad influence on how they feel: the students who borrow money are more stressed and have more emotional problems than the students who don’t, the study showed.

Fatigue and emotional exhaustion

Forty-four percent of students who borrow money suffer from ‘extreme fatigue during the day’, while only 39 percent of non-borrowers report feeling like this. Borrowing students also experienced ‘emotional exhaustion’ more often than students without loans (40 versus 31 percent), they are more often afraid of burning out (19 percent versus 11 percent), and they feel more pressure to graduate (60 percent versus 49 percent).

On top of that, borrowing students don’t engage in extracurricular activities as much, because it’s too expensive. This group comprised of 52 percent of borrowers.

‘Ball is in the minister’s court’

‘Borrowing money doesn’t just affect students financially, but also emotionally. This study proves that’, says ISO president Tom van den Brink. He says this is ‘of great concern’, because: ‘These figures are about real people.’

The ISO feels that education minister Van Engelshoven should include the figures from the study in the political debate concerning the loans system and the interest that’s being charged on student loans. This interest might increase soon. ‘The ball is now in the minister’s court and it’s up to her to acknowledge that borrowing money plays a role in the pressure and psychological complaints that students experience’, says Van den Brink. ‘Everyone stands to gain something from an honest debate.’



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