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Students from Around Dunedin Prepare To Protest

The four major tertiary students’ associations in Dunedin are preparing to protest student debt next week. Students from the Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association (OPSA) the Dunedin College of Education Students’ Association (DCESA), Te Roopu Maaori (TRM) and The Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) will protest together on Tuesday September 14th against growing student debt and the inherent social impact that this debt is now having upon society.
The protest is one of the major actions organised by the South Island coalition of tertiary institutions; ‘Determined to Elect Better Tertiary Education’ (DEBTiE). DEBTiE was formed early last month because of universal student concern that student debt was an issue that was now graduating off campuses and moving out into the community affecting society as a whole.

“Students are demanding that government launch a commission to examine the issues of student loans and tertiary funding, with a view towards equity and accessibility.” Stated OUSA President, Steve Day. “At present it takes the average male graduate 17 years to repay his loan and the average female graduate 51 years. We need a commission that reviews the loan scheme with specific focus upon the inherent inequities and barriers to education that it creates. The government has never done this and people are now suffering because of this negligence.”

“During the ten years of student loans Dunedin students have never had a Prime Minister or Minister of Tertiary Education come to one of our campuses and justify their actions. It is overdue for Jenny Shipley and Max Bradford to talk publicly with Dunedin students.” Said Steve Day.

"With the effect student Debt is having on our society, user pays is going to become user pays and pays and pays." Said Debbie Ruthven, OPSA President, today. "Yet again, the people sitting in Parliament earning big bucks are not thinking of the future of the students and our families, and their families."

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