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90% of teachers graduate with student debt

New research shows 90% of teachers graduate with student debt averaging more than $20,000

More than 90 percent of new teachers graduate with a student debt, and their total average indebtedness at graduation is $23,187, according to a new report “Teachers in Debt: A Report Card” released today by the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) and New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa.

“This research shows that almost all new teachers are now graduating with staggering levels of student debt and are experiencing stress while they teach as a result,” said Colin Tarr, NZEI Te Riu Roa President.

The survey of 841 respondents working as early childhood or primary school teachers in New Zealand found that 70 percent of teachers reported stress because of their student loan and that 48 percent of teacher graduates who leave New Zealand cite their student loan as the main reason why.

“The evidence is very clear: force teachers deep into debt while they train and there will be consequences for our society and our children,” said Andrew Kirton, Co-president of the New Zealand University Students’ Association.

71 percent of respondents reported that their student loan made it difficult to save for the future and 30 percent said that their student debt would influence whether they will have children.

“Teacher education is in crisis, and the government cannot deny that their policy of very high fees and restricted student allowances for teacher trainees is the cause of the problem,” said Kirton.


Summary of Key Findings

92% of new teacher graduates had some form of student debt

The average total student debt for teachers upon graduation was $23,187

30% of respondents said their student debt would influence whether they will have children

38% of respondents had dependent children and 51% said student debt influenced their ability to provide for their children

60% of respondents said their student loan influenced on their ability to provide for their family

41% of respondents had considered leaving New Zealand because of their student loan

1/3 of respondents planned to leave after 3 years, 47% after 5 years, and of these 48% stated their student debt as the main reason why

71% said their student loan made it difficult to save for the future

20% of respondents said they experienced difficulty obtaining finance because of their student loan

70% of respondents reported stress because of their student loan

70% of participants worked part-time while studying, for an average of 15.4 hours per week

60% said having to work part-time impacted on their study

Only 50% of respondents received some form of student allowance while they studied

The average student loan debt was $19,089 for Maori compared with $16,035 overall

The average student loan debt was 16,552 for women, $15,731 for men,

On average, women earn 12% less than men in the public education workforce

85% of respondents had a government Student Loan Scheme debt

The average government Student Loan Scheme Debt for all respondents was $16,305

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