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Call for Immediate Govt Action

Otago Polytechnic Students' Association

Call for Immediate Govt Action

Recently released figures have caused OPSA President, Phil Baskerville, to call for immediate action by the government. Women graduating from a one-year polytechnic certificate course will take 23 years on average to pay their student debt, and men with diplomas or certificates take 7 years.

"Everyone knows about the negative impacts of debt on university graduates, the new figures show student debt is worse for many polytech graduates. This highlights one of several major problems with the student debt scheme - low income people end-up paying more for their education.” said Mr Baskerville.

“Women graduating from one year courses, like social services, tourism or hospitality, will take 23 years to pay their student debt. This is a totally unacceptable situation - it means many average New Zealanders in basic trades pay more for their education than lawyers and doctors” said Mr Baskerville.

NZUSA Co-President, Andrew Campbell, agrees "The years taken to pay off the loan are way out of proportion for the time taken to complete these courses. These borrowers are ordinary New Zealanders - tradespeople, clerical workers, and carers - not well-paid lawyers or accountants. The loans scheme punishes them for learning a skill in order to get a decent job."

A large part of the problem is that only 20% of polytech students are entitled to an allowance; meaning the remaining 80% must get into significant debt simply to pay their living costs.

"The new government must to act now - it is essential that significantly more people are eligible for student allowances next year. At the very least we’d hope 50% of Otago Polytech students are entitled to an allowance in 2003." said Mr Baskerville.

Further Information

Phil Baskerville Michelle Watt Andrew Campbell Mark Baxter
OPSA President OPSA Vice-President NZUSA Co-President OPSA Student Liaison Officer
(03) 477-6974 (03) 477-6974 (04) 498-2500 (03) 477-6974
021-1121-789 027-486-8677 021-1146-753

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Student Loan Repayment Times for Borrowers with Certificates and Diplomas

The following average student loan repayment times were calculated by NZUSA using the Iversen model, matching average annual student loan borrowing for polytechnic students broken down by gender (provided by the Ministry of Social Development) with census data on income for advanced vocational qualification and skilled vocational qualification broken down by age bands, ethnicity and gender (provided by Statistics New Zealand). A repayment schedule for bachelors degrees is also included for comparison.

Two-Year Diploma
Maori Females 26 years, Males 16 years
Pacific Females 28 years, Males 20 years
Pakeha Females 22 years, Males 13 years
Total Females 24 years, Males 13 years

One-Year Certificate
Maori Females 28 years, Males 9 years
Pacific Females 25 years, Males 12 years
Pakeha Females 22 years, Males 6 years
Total Females 23 years, Males 7 years

Three-Year Bachelors Degree
Maori Females 24 years, Males 16 years
Pacific Females 33 years, Males 21 years
Pakeha Females 22 years, Males 13 years
Total Females 28 years, Males 15 years


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