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Student Loan Repayment Times Increase

The average repayment time for male graduates with student loans has increased from 14 to 15 years, and is still at 28 years for women according to new research released today by the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA).

“These repayment times reveal that the government's work to date has done little to assist with the debt crisis. If repayment times are to come down in the future, work must be done on the root causes of student loan debt: high fees and a lack of universal living allowance,” said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell.

“A large number of students rely on the loan scheme to meet their basic day to day needs. A further 60% of student loan borrowing is to used to pay tuition fees,” said Campbell. “Access to living allowances must be increased and tuition fees will have to come down if the government wants to see reductions in the amounts borrowed and an accompanying reduction in repayment times,” said Campbell.

"The current review of the student loan scheme should be focusing on improving the situation for current students. A private savings scheme of the type being mooted by Steve Maharey would do nothing to help those already in study or those who may enter into education over the next fifteen years," said Campbell.

"All we are asking for is a fairer scheme so that tertiary students will not be burdened with a lifetime of debt," said Campbell.

The NZUSA figures were calculated on the basis of the Iversen model, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to show how long it would take loans to be repaid on the basis of gender. They have been updated using 2001 figures on average yearly borrowing by full time, full year students and on the income of bachelors graduates from the last Census.

ENDS

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