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New research shows more debt for more students

New research shows more debt
for more students

Average student debt has increased by 18% since 1998 and the percentage of debt free students has halved since 1998 according to major new research released today by the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA).

“This is more evidence of the need for major reform of the student loan scheme. This government has tinkered with interest rates on loans but has done little to address the causes of debt – high tuition fees and lack of student allowances. For students on campus, the picture keeps getting bleaker,” said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell.

“The student loan scheme is now ten years old. This comprehensive survey conducted by NFO CM Research shows how the financial situation of students has deteriorated since 1992. This research spans the last nine years and is arguably the most important insight we have into the effects of user pays in tertiary education,” said Campbell.

The study shows that students have little to celebrate as they head into a new academic year. Tuition fees have increased by 21% since 1998 leading to 20% of students citing fees as an influence on their choice of study. Average debt is now $13,743 and only one in ten students are debt free, down from 21% in 1998. Students are working more and earning less than they did in 1998.

“With the election looming, the Government must respond in a meaningful manner to the issues raised by this research. Student debt was $3 billion when this government was elected and will hit $5 billion soon. The student debt issue is far from resolved and will be in the forefront of the minds of students and their families when the time comes to vote,” said Campbell

The NZUSA Income and Expenditure survey is conducted every three years and details the financial and socio-economic status of New Zealand’s polytechnic, college of education and university students. Copies of the report are available on request from NZUSA.

For further comment please contact:
Andrew Campbell: (0274) 86 86 77; (04) 498 2500

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