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Campus Support Key to Solving Loan Problems

Press release For immediate release

18 July 2000

Campus Support Key to Solving Loan Problems

The Government must be prepared to commit extra funding to provide comprehensive on-line face-to-face campus support if student loan processing by Work and Income is to improve next year the National Student Associations said today.

The Minister of Social Services, Steve Maharey, today released the independent review of the processing of student loans by the Department of Work and Income (DWI).

Both the Aotearoa Post-compulsory Student Union (APSU) and the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) welcomed the review and the issues it identified.

"It is clear that the DWI is not skilled at solving students' problems with their loan applications via their 0800 number. This year the DWI staff who were based on campus had no computer access and were practically useless," said David Penney, APSU National President.

"The report identified four options for improving on campus support. The only acceptable option that we see is for DWI staff to have full on-line access on each University and Polytechnic campus," said Sam Huggard, NZUSA Co-President.

"We are pleased that the Minister has identified staff training as an issue. Many students this year were frustrated with the inconsistent information they received from DWI staff and we will be looking for a major improvement next year," said David Penney.

"One breakthrough is that the Department is going to concentrate less on attempting to change students' patterns of application and focus its resources on the peak times when students traditionally apply on mass," said Sam Huggard.

"The Department has also acknowledged that the way it communicates with students was fraught with confusion and has committed to involving student groups and institutions in a review of this," said David Penney.

ENDS

For more comment contact:

David Penney Sam Huggard

APSU President NZUSA Co-President

04 498 2507 (work) 04 4982500 (work)

025 756 526 (cell) 025 86 8673 (cell)

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