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Community Puts Student Debt Under Microscope

NEW ZEALAND UNIVERSITY STUDENTS' ASSOCIATION

Press release
For immediate release
August 22 2000

Community Puts Student Debt Under Microscope

Nine years and nearly $4 billion later, the community finally is being given the opportunity to discuss the impact student debt has on youth and the country as a whole.

The National Student Unions (NZUSA, ATSA and TMA) in association with the Minister of Youth Affairs are holding a full-day summit in Wellington focusing on student debt and its impact on New Zealand’s young people.

“This summit represents our concern that the Government believes that a tertiary fees freeze and interest free student loans will convince the public that the issue has been addressed sufficiently," said Sam Huggard, New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) Co-President.

“Since the election the Government has sold interest free student loans as the panacea for the ills of the student loan scheme. Total student debt is still projected to reach $19 billion by the year 2020 and the fact that young people are still mortgaging their futures seems to have been forgotten by the Government,” said David Penney, Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA) National President.

“We are delighted that the Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon Laila Harre, realises how important it is for Government to stimulate on-going public debate,” said Sam Huggard.

“The recent Auditor General’s report scolded Governments for not conducting any research into the intended and unintended socio-economic outcomes of student debt. This is out attempt to give this process more urgency,” said David Penney.

“Up until now, it has only been ATSA, NZUSA and a few education groups that have conducted any real research on this issue. Some politicians have even been happy to make major student loan policy decisions on the flimsiest of anecdotal evidence,” said Sam Huggard.

“To start making well-informed and sustainable tertiary education policies, the Government must know more about the long-term implications of student debt. This summit is the community’s chance to have a role in this process,” concluded David Penney.

ENDS

For more comment contact:

David Penney Sam Huggard
National President Co-President
Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association New Zealand University Students
04 498 2507 (work) 04 498 2500 (work)
025 756 526 (cell) 025 86 86 73 (cell)


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