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Nzusa Adds To Student Debt

Nzusa Adds To Student Debt

Complaints from the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) about the level of student debt are hypocritical as the association itself adds to total student debt by accepting money borrowed under the student loan scheme to pay compulsory student association fees, Student Choice said today.

Student Choice spokesman Glenn Peoples has pointed out that approximately half of the money students are forced to pay to compulsory regional student associations is in fact borrowed under the loan scheme. Regional associations then channel some of this money, in the form of a per student levy, to the national student organisations, NZUSA and the Aotearoa Tertiary Student Association.

"This means that about half of NZUSA's income comes from money borrowed under the loan scheme. If NZUSA is opposed to student debt it should stop adding to the debt problem by refusing to accept borrowed money. The ability to borrow compulsory student association fees under the loan scheme allows the cost of student politics to be buried in the total amount students borrow at the start of the year," Mr Peoples said.

"NZUSA and other associations are unlikely to argue for the removal of the ability to borrow association fees as it would mean students would have to pay their fees separately. This would cause students to question why they are forced to pay for student politicians, and it might well mean that associations would have to perform in order to attract student support."

Mr Peoples said that regardless of the benefits of association membership, students should be free to study without being forced to fund organisations with political agendas.

Student Choice promotes freedom of association through voluntary membership of student associations.

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