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How big is student debt really?

Date: 11 July 02
Attention: Education Reporters For Immediate Release

How big is student debt really?

The Aotearoa Tertiary Student Association (ATSA) today said it had serious concerns that the real size of student debt was not publicly known. "Early this year total student debt hit the five billion dollar mark, but the real dilemma is trying to keep track of the total owed," said Julie Pettett, ATSA National President. "Student debt grows at a rate of over $700,000 per day and will be more than fifteen billion dollars by 2015."

"This debt is very real to New Zealanders. To a student who owes $18,000 for a three year course, this debt is a source of daily concern. We can only wonder how the student with the highest debt of $162,228 feels," said Pettett. "Most likely this student is planning to go overseas to add to the 300 million dollars of debt that is owed by borrowers living abroad."

"Too many times we have heard this debt justified as a means to getting an education. But the only thing great about this debt is the number of zeros after the five," said Pettett. "More than one in ten people over 15 in New Zealand have a student debt. This means that over half the population is going to be related to someone with a student loan. Where will this stop?"

"Student debt is an out of control time bomb," said Pettett. "The number of New Zealanders adversely affected by this debt grows each year. How long will we have to wait for a government that has the sense to defuse this bomb before it blows up in our faces?"


For further comment, contact: Julie Pettett ATSA National President Cell phone 029 939 1417 (04) 9391417

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association - Representing University, Polytechnic and Wananga students

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