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National does little to fix student/graduate debt

Otago Polytechnic Students' Assoc.

Media Release
21 July 2005
Attn: Education and Political Reporters

For immediate release

National does little to fix student/graduate debt disaster.

There is very little heart-warming news for students or graduates in National's Student Loan rebate announcement today.

"Any changes to student loans would be made much easier by addressing the actual interest rate. All students and graduates would clearly benefit equally from interest free loans, or at least lowering the rate would be a good start" said Rachel Dibble, President of OPSA.

In policy announced today, Don Brashs' objective was to keep young people in New Zealand and reduce the barrier the student debt loan scheme has created.

"These minor changes do not take into account time taken off work by parents to raise children or address the huge inequality of repayment times between women, Maori and Pasifika students and graduates" said Ms Dibble. "Government policy needs to address the key drivers of debt namely rising fees and reduced access to a living allowance."

From 1990-1999, the last National - led Government, tertiary fees rose by 16% and access to allowances dropped from 85.4% eligibility in 1990 to 36% in 1999.

"National is muddying its own history in ridiculous attempts to convince voters there is concern for the education of the future youth it is so clearly not in touch with" Ms Dibble said.

Ends.

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