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Large Loan Debtors Not Alone

The number of students owing over $50,000 tripled in the ten months between August 1998 and June 1999 while the number of students owing between $40,000 and $50,000 has more than doubled.

President of the Otago University Students' Association (OUSA), Steve Day, is outraged that the Government which has created this situation continues to hold onto power rather than giving someone else a chance to resolve the situation.

“Many of those students who now owe upwards of $50,000 are living here in Dunedin and once they leave Uni. they may not be able to get a mortgage, they may delay having a family or committing to marriage. They may leave the country, not because of high taxes but because high debt.” Said Steve Day.

“The interest on a loan of $50,000 is $70 per week. Quite a lot of money for someone with no income, full time study and no access to a living allowance equivalent to the dole.

Other facts to emerge from the government’s most recent financial report on Student loans include:

Total student debt is forecast to more then triple to $11,000,000,000 in the next fifteen years.

Pacific Island students need to borrow more than $500 per year more than the average student.

Ethnicities other than pakeha are finding debt grows faster. While the amount per year borrowed by pakeha students grew between 1997 and 1998 by 3.2% the amount borrowed by students of other ethnicities increased anywhere between 4.1% and 9.2% depending the ethnicity to which they belonged.

“We need to independently review the loans scheme now and that analysis needs to include a gendered and multicultural analysis of how debt affects our citizens.” Said Steve Day. “We need a new approach to tertiary funding and policy.”


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