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Govt. Responsible For Increase In Student Debt

Govt. Responsible For Huge Increase In Student Debt Level - ACT

Thursday 24th Feb 2000 Muriel Newman Media Release -- Other

New Government policies look set to bankrupt the next generation, says ACT MP Dr Muriel Newman.

Dr Newman was responding to an answer to a written question from Tertiary Education Minister Steve Maharey that shows present forecasts for student loan applications are nearly fifty per cent higher now that Labour's 'no interest' policy has been introduced.

"Mr Maharey's policy is enticing thousands of students who wouldn't have normally taken a loan, to unnecessarily go into debt," Dr Newman said.

"In September 1999, there were 104,614 loans forecast for the period 1 January 2000 to 30 June 2000. After Labour's new policy, the figures were revised to 150,828. This is despite the fact that student enrolment numbers are basically remaining static.

"The growth in loan applications look set to push student debt levels over the $6 billion mark by the end of 2002 which is almost twice the speed originally forecast.

"Last year, Mr Maharey claimed that the 'crippling debt burden was forcing people to make perverse decisions and worrying some to the point of suicide', yet, now that he is in Government, he is putting in place policies to make the situation worse. This is the sort of U-turn that this Minister is becoming famous for," Dr Newman said.


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