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Minister's Ignorance Hardly Surprising - Students

Claims by Max Bradford in this week's Woman's Weekly that student loans are not restricting people from obtaining bank loans, buying houses or starting families are not surprising given his general inability to understand the tertiary education sector, said Co-President of the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA), Karen Skinner, today.

"This is, after all, the man who seems to think that you can have a university that does not conduct any research whatsoever," said Ms Skinner, "If the Minister can not be bothered to check what real universities actually do and what they are for, then it's not very surprising that he knows nothing about the effect of Student Loans."

"Student Associations regularly receive reports of Student Loans restricting people's ability to live ordinary lives," said Ms Skinner. "Just under half of the borrowers surveyed for the NZUSA/APSU Debt Casebook said that their Loan debt had 'been an issue when seeking additional finance'. While we have never claimed that the Debt Casebook is a definitive study of the impact of Student Loans on New Zealand, we do think that there is more than enough evidence to raise very grave concerns about the effects of increasing student debt on individuals and society."

"What is most frustrating about the Minister's comments is the fact that the Government appears absolutely unwilling to even consider investigating the impact of Student Loans," said Ms Skinner. "If they refuse to look, it is surprising that they don't see what's going on?"

"Other political parties are recognising that Student Loans are an increasing problem. Hopefully, the election will bring some relief to students and realism to tertiary education policy."

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