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Nats rebates will not solve student debt crisis

Camilla Belich & Andrew Kirton NZUSA Co-presidents

Nats loan rebates will not solve student debt crisis

Students are warning that the National Party's new rebates for interest repayments on loans will not keep graduates in New Zealand or effectively target the $7 billion dollar student debt monster.

"The reason total student debt is well over $7 billion is because of lack of access to allowances and high fees. This policy will not be successful if, at the same time, student fees continue to grow," said Camilla Belich, Co-President of the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA).

"This policy also does little to help those who would really benefit from a debt write off. Mums and Dads at home taking time out of the workforce will not benefit from this policy, neither would those on low incomes. It is a policy essentially of tax rebates for the rich," Belich said.

Don Brash announced a policy this afternoon targeted at keeping graduates in New Zealand. The rebate works by giving borrowers making repayments a rebate on part of their interest that would then be paid directly onto the principle of their loan.

"It is important to see this rebate scheme for graduates in context. When National was last in power student allowance eligibility went down from 85% in 1990 to 36% in 1999 and student fees for university students more than doubled over the same period," said Andrew Kirton, Co-President of NZUSA.

"National refuses to commit to increasing eligibility to student allowances and have not ruled out fee increases. Students and graduates will be seeking a greater commitment to student support before unpacking their bags," Kirton said.


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