The impact of student loan reforms on students' enrolment and housing decisions: evidence from the Netherlands

Lonneke van den Berg, University of Amsterdam
Ruben van Gaalen, University of Amsterdam

In 2015, the Dutch government implemented reforms in the student loan system in the Netherlands. In the former system, all Dutch students received a monthly allowance that covered the tuition fee, and (some of) the housing costs if the student had left home. The reforms entailed the abolishment of this monthly allowance for all students – only students from the lowest income group remained eligible for a monthly allowance, and this allowance no longer covered housing costs if the student left home. The main goal of this research is to examine to what extent these reforms have impacted students’ enrolment and housing decisions, and whether this impact differs by socioeconomic background. A guiding hypothesis is that these reforms result in an increased call for intergenerational support through a pro-longed stay in the parental home. I analyze the impact of the reforms using register data from Statistics Netherlands for 10 year-specific cohorts that became eligible for higher education between 2007 and 2016. Using event-history analyses, young adults from the cohorts before the reforms are compared to young adults from the cohorts after the reforms in the probability of study enrolment and leaving home. The findings show little impact of the student loan reforms on students’ enrolment decision. However, the probability that students leave home is substantially reduced after the reforms. This finding supports the hypothesis that the reforms increase the reliance on family for intergenerational support.

Presented in Session 120: Transitions to Adulthood