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Loan burden major worry for first time voters

6 January 2005

New Research shows student loan burden major worry for first time voters

Over two thirds of 2004 school leavers say that fee increases are affecting their decisions to undertake tertiary study, according to new research by the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) about the tertiary study intentions of school leavers.

“Young people who participated in this survey will be voting for the first time this year and the ever increasing cost of tertiary education will be weighing heavily on their minds on election day,” said Andrew Kirton, NZUSA Co-president.

“The government’s policy of allowing fees to increase year after year is both short-sighted and irresponsible.”

Key findings from the survey show 70 percent of respondents are either concerned or very concerned about graduating with a large student debt and that fee increases impact on study decisions for 70 percent of respondents.

“The last thing that should be on the minds of school leavers are concerns about repaying massive student loans,” said Kirton. “New Zealand needs skilled graduates, not young people burdened with a lifetime of student debt.”

“Labour has shamefully allowed fee increases for the past two years. With an election this year, we need to see strong commitments from all political parties for significant fee reductions and less student debt,” added NZUSA Co-President Camilla Belich.

“The government should listen to the voices of young New Zealanders and commit to a vision of free tertiary education for all New Zealanders,” said Belich.

ENDS

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