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Govt Spin Can’t Turn Student Loans Into Good News

Government Spin Can’t Turn Student Loans Into Good News

The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) is calling for a major overhaul of the student loan scheme as almost every indicator in the scheme’s annual report shows the situation to be getting worse.

“The government spin on the report is that things are getting better. This is clearly not the case as the trends show increased borrowing and a greater number of students entering into debt,” said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell. “In an environment of fee freezes and interest write-offs the problem should be stabilising – instead it’s getting worse.”This shouldn’t be happening in an environment of fees freezes and interest write-offs. “

Key points of the student loan scheme annual report include: Increase in the average annual amount borrowed – now $6,135 ($6,058 in 2000) Increase in the average debt with IRD of 1.17% to $12,643 ($12,497 in 2000) Increasing numbers of eligible students are taking out loans – currently 56% compared to 55% last year and 50% in 1999 Increase in total debt Increasing amounts of debt being written off due to bankruptcy

“This report adds further pressure for the government to take off the shelf its pledge for a review of the loan scheme. The review needs to happen as soon as possible, and needs to take into account the view of most New Zealanders that the scheme is unsustainable and unfair,” said Campbell.

“The government has also promised to increase access to living allowances. If any of these negative trends are to be reversed, increased access to student allowances must happen immediately or they will need even more PR to get around the negative student loan trends that will be sure to follow, “ said Campbell.

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