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Bigger Student Loans Driving Graduates Overseas

Bigger Student Loans Driving Graduates Overseas

The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) is describing today’s news that graduates overseas have much bigger debts than those at home as major evidence linking student loans to a brain drain of our best and brightest.

“The $7000 average gap in debt between those who have left and those who have stayed shows that big debts are a factor in driving much needed graduates overseas, “ said 2003 NZUSA President Fleur Fitzsimons.

Overseas borrowers owed an average of $19,880 compared to $12,980 for resident borrowers, according to the figures released by Statistics New Zealand.

“Successive governments have tried to deny that the loans scheme contributes to workforce shortages, “ said Fitzsimons. “This new information from the Data Integration Project shows that government needs to come out of denial and start fixing this major problem.”

With higher borrowing in post-graduate study, it looks likely that the big debtors leaving New Zealand are the ones most needed to drive the knowledge economy that the government wants us to become.

“It’s no coincidence that graduates overseas have much bigger debts. They are leaving to work in high wage economies overseas rather than stay in New Zealand and barely cover their interest charges,” said Fitzsimons.

“The government needs to scrap the loans scheme and give these graduates a reason to come home. This new information only adds to the growing mound of evidence that the loans scheme is a disaster.”

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