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$7.9m Drop in Bucket of $5 billion Student Debt

Joint Media Statement of: Otago University Students Association and
Otago Polytechnic Students Association

18 February 2002, For Immediate Release
Attn: Education Reporters

$7.9m Drop in Bucket of $5 billion Student Debt

Otago students today responded to the release today of figures indicating that they had saved $7.9 million through student loan interest write-offs, saying this was a drop in the bucket compared to $5 billion dollars of student debt.

“While the government is busy patting itself on the back over saving students nationwide $68.5 million, this month total student debt in this country tops $5 billion. The government has saved us 1.37%.” said Otago University Students Association President Roz Connelly.

“Tertiary education in this country is facing a crisis. It’s facing a crisis of over a decade of underfunding. The Labour-Alliance government has taken some positive steps, but small steps aren’t enough to fix this problem. There need to be some big leaps.” said Otago Polytechnic Students Association Vice-President Michelle Watt.

Otago students will be pushing parties to include significantly increased funding for the tertiary sector in their 2002 election policies. Tomorrow students will ‘celebrate’ ten years of student loans by holding a birthday party on the Registry Lawn.

[A media release on tomorrow’s birthday party will follow this afternoon.]

Contact Roz Connelly 03-4795333 021-345368
Michelle Watt 03-4776974 021-1121789

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