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Labour’s Student Loan Policy Works for Nurses

Labour’s Student Loan Policy Works for Women and For Nurses

The announcement of interest free student loans is a major victory for those who have campaigned for a fairer student loan scheme, according to a nursing student leader. Head of NZNO’s National Student Unit, third-year student at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Jacqui Bennetts, said interest free student loans would enable new graduate nurses to make some real impact on paying off their student loans in the first first few years of their working lives. “The interest free policies, combined with the fact new graduates now get a decent wage, under the national pay deal for district health board nurses, will make paying off debt considerably easier.”

“It will also help alleviate the nursing shortage,” Bennetts said. She works with many caregivers in her holiday jobs and many of them would love to go nursing. “But the student loan scheme has meant they haven’t even considered it. Interest free loans open possibilities for these people to go nursing.”

A nurse at Hutt Hospital Megan Roseingrave said the new policy was a “good call. Without interest on my loan, I will have a chance to reduce my loan without going overseas. This year I worked in Alice Springs for three months to try and pay off some of my student loan. Heaps of nurses from my ward have gone overseas to try and pay off their loans”.

NZNO president Jane O Malley said the new policy was better than NZNO had expected. “Interest free loans will particularly benefit women who have accrued huge interest on their loans when they have taken time off to have children. The policy will make it easier for nurses to take time off to have children, and it will also entice nurses back from overseas”.

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