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Students will see real gains with Labour policy

Students will see real gains with Labour’s tertiary education policy

The Association of University Staff (AUS) has applauded the announcement today that Labour will end all interest on student loans for students residing within New Zealand, and increase the eligibility for student allowances from next year.

AUS National President Professor Nigel Haworth said that the announcement represents the most significant move in ensuring that university education is affordable since the introduction of the current student fees and loan schemes in 1991.

Professor Haworth said that university staff had consistently expressed concerns about the effect of high student loans and debt on students’ access to university education, and on students’ learning experience.

“The evidence suggests some potential students are deterred from university study by the cost of their education. Others have their educational progress compromised by having to work at the same time as they study,” Professor Haworth said. “Today’s policy announcement will have a considerable impact as it will allow students to concentrate on study without worrying about escalating debt caused by the accrual of interest. It will also be of real benefit to people temporarily out of the workforce, such as those looking after children, who also currently accrue interest on their outstanding loans.”

Professor Haworth said that targeted measures, such as the cutting of interest on student loans to graduates remaining in New Zealand and making allowances more accessible, were preferable to tax cuts as a means to ensure the high educational standards needed for a knowledge-based society

ENDS

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