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Student Loan Interest Rate Freeze A Positive Move

The Alliance is pleased the government has frozen the student loan interest rate and is reviewing all aspects of the student loans scheme.

"I am delighted the Labour/Alliance government has refused to follow National's student loan interest rates formula and increase interest rates for this year," Alliance education spokesperson Dr. Liz Gordon said.

"If we had followed National's formula for fixing student loan interest rates they would have increased to 7.6%. Instead the rate will be frozen at 7% pending a review of the student loans scheme.

"Under National student loan interest rates were kept at an obscene level. They initially set them in an ad hoc manner but in later years they invented a 'formula' for the rates that guaranteed they stayed high.

Dr Gordon believes the review of the student loans scheme will allow aspects such as comparisons of international loan schemes to be investigated.

"I am sure the review of the student loans scheme will be looking at comparative interest rates of student loans schemes around the world. This is something that National never dared to do.

"In the UK and Australia student loans interest rates are around the level of inflation. If British and Australian students can have interest rates of 2% how does it help our competitiveness if New Zealand students pay 7%?

"Today's announcement is further proof that this government is not content to sit back and let the cost of education skyrocket further," Dr Liz Gordon said.

ENDS

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