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Student Teachers Support Interest Write Off

Student Teachers Support Union Move For Interest Write off

19th February 2001

Christchurch College of Education Students' Association supports NZEI's call for a freeze on student loan interest for teachers. In 2000 the Labour Alliance Government froze student loan interest for students while they study. However, as soon as borrowers finish studying interest starts multiplying their debt.

"Beginning teachers are not high wage earners, yet student loan interest accrues at a crippling rate," said Christin Watson president of Christchurch College of Education Students' Association.

"Incurring a student loan has become a necessity for the majority of tertiary students and student teachers are no exception," Christin Watson said today.

The majority of teachers with student loans are women. Research into student loans shows that women will take an average of close to thirty years to pay back their loans.

"NZEI is right to seek a freeze on student loan interest for its members. They see first hand how so many of their female members are struggling to keep ahead of their mounting student loan interest."

"The student loan scheme is vastly inequitable against women," sited Christin Watson. "The interest doesn't take into account the fact that women are more likely to earn less through their careers and that they are more likely than men to have time away from their jobs to raise a family."

"High tuition fees and a discriminatory student allowance system have resulted in hundreds of thousands of New Zealand students and graduates collectively owing close to four billion dollars."

CCESA supports the move by NZEI to reduce the debt burden for teaching graduates whilst recognising that the impact of the student loan scheme affects students and graduates across all sectors.

"Unless the government wants another generation of teachers incurring student debts they must reinstate universal student living allowances and begin to reduce tuition fees."

Ends

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