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Arrival of interest-free student loans celebrated

29 March 2006

Arrival of interest-free student loans celebrated

Auckland University students celebrate the arrival of interest-free student loans

As students all over the country wait eagerly for the arrival of interest-free student loans on April 1st, plans are afoot to celebrate the occasion in grand style.

Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA) President Dan Bidois says that "the campaign to get interest free loans for students could not have been achieved without the hard work and commitment of the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) which AUSA is an associate member of."

To recognise this dedication to the student cause and what they have achieved, AUSA is holding a 'Losing Your Interest' party in the Quad of the Student Union Building this Friday 31st of March. Billed as a light-hearted celebration to recognise this major success for the student movement, the event will feature free food, refreshments, candy and balloons. Information will be provided to students explaining how the interest-free student loan system will work, and clued-up AUSA student representatives will be on hand to answer any questions that students may have.

While the end of interest on student loans is a huge step forward for the student movement, it is only early days in the long journey towards a national barrier-free education for all New Zealanders.

"We hope to see real positive changes to the attitudes and behaviours of prospective and current students due to the scheme. According to a recent survey of school leavers conducted by NZUSA 78% of respondents stated that current fee levels were too high. We hope the introduction of the interest free student loan scheme will encourage more students to enter tertiary education studies and further encourage current tertiary students to seek higher education at post-graduate level", Mr Bidois added.

With student debt currently estimated at around $8.4billion there is certainly much more to be done. AUSA, NZUSA and the many other dedicated students' associations around the country will continue their efforts, endeavouring to build upon this success and make it the foundation for many more. As AUSA Education Vice-President Xavier Goldie says, "While this is a watershed for the student movement, we need to see more progressive policies like this continue to make positive changes for students."

"Changes such as a universal student allowance for all students are such changes that we hope current and future governments are up to the challenge of implementing." Mr Bidois said.


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