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The Myth of Average Student Loans

The Myth of Average Student Loans

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association (ATSA) takes issue with the government claim that “the average Student Loan balance at 30 June 2002 was $12,643.” This figure is misleading and paints an unclear picture of real Student Loan Debt. Because there are so many variables involved, an average loan based on all borrowers is simply not credible. “New Borrowers, those who have almost repaid, and the whole range in between, can contribute to a lower looking average,” said Julie Pettett, President of ATSA. “The solution is to use the average debt of particular groups, such as recent graduates or graduates by qualification.”

“When buying a home in Auckland you do not look at the National house price,” said Pettett. “In the same way, to see the effect of Student Debt on graduates, we need to look at the average borrowing by graduates and the national average of all.”

“Both the Education Select Committee and the Auditor General have clearly stated that better reporting is required and the government has committed to doing that,” said Pettett. “ATSA believes this must include averages that will enable the public to have a real picture of the Student Loan Scheme.”

“ATSA is asking for clear and reflective reporting to remove the illusion the current ‘average’ Student Loan debt figure creates.”

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