Universiteit Leiden

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Brainstorming with and for students about money management

How do we tackle financial stress among students? Policymakers and students came up with a plan. The outcome has been a report that the university can use to help answer the question. Vera Hilgevoord organised the brainstorm session with students and has compiled their ideas.

Psychologists from Leiden affiliated with the Knowledge Center for Psychology and Economic Behavior (KCPEG) recently published the advisory report: ‘Reducing Financial Stress Among Students.’ ‘The advice concerns financially supporting students, preventing the fragmentation of financial information, providing assistance, and implementing appropriate financial education. We recommend involving students in the implementation,’ summarizes Vera Hilgevoord. She shares some of the responses from students to the questions during the brainstorming session.

Students clearly know how large their student loan is, what the interest rate is, and how much they have to repay each month.

What changes are needed to reduce financial stress?

Imagine: It's a year later, and all the problems are resolved. What does that look like? What are you doing differently/what is different? 

  • Students can easily access help for financial stress, just as they do for medical assistance. 
  • Students clearly know how much their student loan is, what the interest rate is, and how much they have to repay each month
  • Mandatory financial education in high school, for example, as part of the social studies curriculum. 

What information do you think is missing on existing websites?

  • How to apply for allowances and what you are entitled to. This checklist is missing. 
  • Different agencies operate in each municipality. The overview of local assistance is lacking. 
  • Concrete information regarding DUO; the information is outdated/does not always match reality. 

How do students find the information on the website?

  • Peer-to-peer, buddies, or student ambassadors who are currently enrolled.
  • Mention it in lectures and mentor meetings. 
  • Ensure that students do not feel pressure, for example, avoid using the term 'financial distress.


During the brainstorming session, psychologists from Leiden University and the Knowledge Center KCPEG collaborated with Leiden University of Applied Sciences, the Municipality of Leiden, SHoutLeiden!, and the Denktank StudentEnStad (Leiden). During the brainstorming session on reducing financial concerns, students from the StudentEnStad Think Tank Leiden presented their research on financial information on the university website for Leiden students. Bregje Bekers from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment outlined the scope of the problem and emphasized the responsibility of government agencies to develop solutions for students. Hilgevoord: ‘Based on the brainstorming session and our knowledge of financial stress, we provide advice on how the suggestions can potentially be implemented along three lines: the national government, local authorities, and colleges and universities.’

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