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Loan Changes A Move In The Right Direction

Green Party tertiary education spokesperson Michael Tritt today welcomed student loan changes which will allow part-time students to earn more before they are charged interest.

Tertiary education minister Steve Maharey announced today that the income threshold at which part-time students qualify for a full interest write-off will rise from $14,768 to $24,596, effective from the start of this year.

"This is great news for all of those part-time students who, despite being on low incomes, were charged usurious interest rates by the previous National government," Mr Tritt said.

"The changes will remove the disincentive to study that part-time students faced under the previous government."

Mr Tritt stressed however that much more needed to be done to ensure equitable access to tertiary education in New Zealand.

"Writing off the interest for low-income, part-time students is a good start, but ideally no person should pay more than the rate of inflation on a student loan," he said.

"These changes, however positive will not stop the debt monster from growing. The minister needs to address the costs which are forcing students to borrow so much in the first place."

Mt Tritt said moves such as slashing fees and implementing a universal student living allowance were urgently needed to increase participation in tertiary education and prevent the brain drain of talented young New Zealanders fleeing our country with massive debts.


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