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Students Call for Public Scrutiny of the TESLA

Students Call for Public Scrutiny of the TESLA Student Debt Repayment Model

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association (ATSA) applauds the intent behind the new format Student Loan Scheme Annual Report released yesterday, but is concerned at the hidden assumptions behind total Student Debt projections and repayment times which underpin much of its analysis.

“We appreciate the government’s attempts to provide better reporting on the Student Loan Scheme,” ATSA’s President, Julie Pettett said today. “Unfortunately, this latest annual report fails to address one of the fundamental problems in understanding the scheme - the statistical and economic assumptions behind the TESLA Student Loan repayment model – yet again they remain unstated.”

ATSA actively encourages sensible discussion on the real socio-economic effects of Student Debt, both on individuals and the community. “Central to such debate must be a clear understanding of how loan repayment times and total debt projections are calculated,” Pettett stated. “A major source of contention is the use of two different Student Debt modelling calculators – the Ministry of Education’s ‘TESLA’ Model and the earlier ‘Iverson’ model.”

ATSA notes that the assumptions behind the Iverson Model are clear and have been in the public domain for over a decade. “We would like to see the assumptions which drive the TESLA model also made public,” Pettett said. “Only when all parties understand both systems will we be in a position to get closer to the real truth behind the Student Loan Scheme.”

ATSA calls on the government to authorise public release of the TESLA Model and the detailed assumptions which underpin its calculations.

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