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Pacific Students Deepest In Debt

New figures released today by the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) show the average annual borrowing of full time, full year Pacific Island university students is higher than any other ethnic group and points towards actual graduate debts being much higher than previously thought.

The average annual amount borrowed by Pacific Island students is $7,575.46 compared to $6848.16 by Maori and $7042.88 by Pakeha students.

“It’s clear that Pacific students are doubly disadvantaged by the loans scheme. They borrow more than their classmates, and then go on to earn less income and so take longer to repay,” said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell. “Pacific people are a growing sector of our population, and in years to come their debts will be a massive social problem none of us can afford to ignore.”

“This effect is exacerbated for female Pacific graduates, who will take even longer on average to repay their debts because of the time they take out of the workforce to have and care for children and other family members,” said Campbell

“These figures reveal the ethnic inequities inherent in the student loan scheme. How can we accept a scheme that creates such vastly different outcomes for people from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds?” said Campbell.

“These figures also indicate that the average debt for a bachelors degree is over $20,000 dollars. This is much higher than the average student debt of around $12,000 promoted by the Inland Revenue Department. The public is being duped about the real costs associated with getting an education,” said Campbell.

“The government was needs to commit to funding tertiary education and back that commitment with cash. If it doesn’t the $5 billion of student debt will evolve into an even bigger millstone around the neck of our nation,” said Campbell.

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