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Med students applaud Labour student support policy

Medical students applaud Labour’s student support policy

Medical graduates stand to save huge amounts in student debt interest under Labour tertiary student support policy announced today. If implemented, this policy will strike a major blow to the massive debts that create worsening medical workforce problems. The New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) supports this new government policy.

“There are a number of changes planned that will benefit medical students and junior doctors,” said Mr. Jesse Gale, the President of NZMSA, who attended the policy launch. “Importantly, they are designed to encourage doctors to keep working here.”

The key improvements for medical students and junior doctors are:

- Interest free student debt for those who stay in New Zealand

- Penalty-interest amnesty, encouraging medical graduates working overseas to return to New Zealand sooner

- A specific review of funding arrangements for medical students

- Increased eligibility for student allowances

- More bonded merit scholarships and Step-Up scholarships

“Interest-free loans will make a huge difference to how new doctors approach their working lives. A doctor with an average debt can expect to save over three years and $37,601 in repayments. These savings are only available to graduates living in New Zealand, so this policy will contribute to reducing our junior doctor shortages.”

“Doctors working overseas will no longer be blocked from returning to New Zealand. Penalty-interest that was incurred while overseas will be wiped if they return. Labour has today promised key changes to help reverse the medical brain drain.”

“Medical student debt is driven by extreme fees, so we are particularly pleased to see a review of medical student funding. The costs of medical education outstripped funding long ago, pushing student fees up and up to $11,000 per year. A review will see government fund universities appropriately to teach these expensive courses, making fee reductions possible.”

“Many of the problems in medical education arise from the outdated funding arrangements. We are optimistic that a funding review will reduce student fees, but also address difficulties with academic retention, large class sizes, clinical teaching and rural education. This will create better-trained doctors to address the growing medical needs of New Zealand.”

ENDS

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