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Maori students over-represented in Student Loans


Media Statement - For immediate release 22.8.00

Maori students over-represented in Student Loan Scheme

Maori students may be under-represented in the tertiary sector but are clearly over-represented in statistics which show that 66.6% of Maori students opened a student loan account in 1999. These issues, and much more, are to be discussed this Friday at the first ever full-day summit on the student loan scheme and its effect on youth and the community.

The summit will be hosted by Te Mana Akonga (Inc.), the New Zealand University Students’ Association and the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association, in association with the Minister of Youth Affairs. It will start at 9.30am at the National Library Auditorium in Wellington. The key focus of the summit is to give the community the chance to have their say about student debt.

“The student loan scheme has been a hot topic recently, especially amongst current students. But when we look at the bigger picture the effects of student debt can be felt throughout the wider community. Parents and whanau, secondary school students, past students are all affected at some stage. We need to know how these groups feel about student debt, we need more community involvement, says Danica Waiti, Kaituhono for Te Mana Akonga (Inc.).

“It is clear that Government research into the student loan scheme was never in place from the start. The Auditor General’s report highlighted this. Our concern is that many of those 66.6% of Maori students with student loans are not fully aware of the implications of student debt. Furthermore, their whanau will also have little or no idea. The Government’s election promises of capacity building within Maori communities should be addressed here with the issue of student debt”, says Miss Waiti.

“Also hot on the Government’s agenda at the moment is the ‘Closing the Gaps’ mentality. You only have to compare numbers of Maori and non-Maori students undertaking student loans to realise that the student loan scheme creates a huge gap. Student debt is affecting Maori students at a rate which is much faster and much higher than non-Maori students”, adds Miss Waiti.

“Furthermore, with increasing repayment times and low income levels for Maori students, the student loan scheme and the tertiary education sector in general, operates in breech of Article 3 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi where Maori are guaranteed equal rights to education”, concludes Miss Waiti.

For further information contact:

DanicaWaiti ph: (04) 498-2506 or 021 440 279
Kaitühono
Te Mana Akonga (Inc)

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