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Medical students commend increase in Intern grant

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Education and Health Reporters

Medical students commend increase in Trainee Intern grant

The New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) commends the government budget announcement today, that the Trainee Intern (TI) grant will increase by $10,000. The grant, provided to final year medical students (TIs) will be increased from $16,756 to $26,756 in 2006, allowing them to pay most of their $11,000 fees.

“This is fantastic news for New Zealand medical students, and has our full support,” said Jesse Gale, President of NZMSA. “It is great to see that government has finally recognized the huge problems of medical student debt, and taken a step to address it. By allowing students to pay for fees in their final year, this should reduce graduates’ debt by 16% of the average.”

“Fees are still outrageously high, and our medical schools still carry huge deficits. This initiative does not solve the problems faced in medical education, but it does make a big difference to the personal hardship of students,” said Gale.

The TI grant had not been increased since it was moved from Vote Health to Education in 1994. In that time fees have risen from around $2,000 to $11,000 per year, and the cost of living has grown. The grant recognizes the apprenticeship nature of the TI year, the long hours of hospital work that prevent other employment, and allows government to address the extreme personal debts borne by medical students.

“This announcement comes as the result of years of lobbying work by NZMSA and our supporters, especially the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) and New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA). It is gratifying to see that government has listened to the combined voice of New Zealand’s students and doctors, and taken this step to improve our situation,” said Gale.

ENDS

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