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Student loans to blame for brain drain

8 December 2004

More research confirms student loans to blame for brain drain

Figures released today from the Australian-New Zealand Graduate Careers Survey show that 31 percent of this year’s graduates will leave New Zealand to work overseas and that 67 percent will work in another country by the time they are 30 years old.

“This is yet another piece of research that confirms high student loan debt is driving New Zealand graduates overseas,” said Fleur Fitzsimons, Co-President of the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA). “Steve Maharey and the government need to stop denying the problems associated with student debt and admit that the student loan scheme was a failed experiment.”

The recent Student Loan Scheme Annual Report showed that the higher a borrowers debt, the more likely they are to go overseas and that 60 percent of those who have left New Zealand with a student loan since the scheme began are still overseas.

“A number of studies conducted by students, unions and demographers confirm student loans are driving our best and brightest overseas. Our 2003 study with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation showed 60 percent of respondents considered going overseas because of their student loan debt,” said Fitzsimons.

“The brain drain will get even worse once the tuition fee rises for 2005 kick in. If government really want a knowledge society, they need to introduce a living allowance for every student and make fees go down, not up.”


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