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Student loan processing evaluation begins

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today announced details of the evaluation he had promised into the processing of student loan applications.

The processing of student loan applications has been dogged by problems this year. Mr Maharey said he has asked the Ministry of Social Policy to determine the reasons why loans processing problems have arisen and what specific steps need to be taken to prevent these problems from arising again.

"Students have been badly affected by problems with loans processing this year. I want to be sure we find out why so we can get on with fixing the problems.

"The Ministry has recommended, and I have agreed, that the evaluation should be led by an outside consultant who will be perceived as neutral on the issues likely to be raised in the evaluation. The Ministry has contracted Karen Erenstrom Associates to lead the evaluation, the costs of which will be met from within the Ministry's existing budget.

"The focus of this evaluation is squarely on making sure students don't have to face the delays they experienced this year.

"The evaluation team will be seeking information from students' associations, representatives of tertiary institutions and relevant government agencies.

"I have asked for the evaluation to be completed as quickly as possible. The Government is committed to spending the remainder of this year getting the process right for the start of 2001," Steve Maharey said.

Attached are the terms of reference for the evaluation.

TERMS OF REFERENCE
FOR
EVALUATION OF THE PROCESSING BY THE DEPARTMENT OF WORK AND INCOME OF STUDENT LOANS

OBJECTIVES:

To ensure that operational changes are implemented that will enable fast and efficient delivery of student loans in the 2001 academic year.

AIMS:

A report to the Minister of Social Services and Employment will be submitted by mid June 2000, after consultation with stakeholders. The report will include issues of history, problems and solutions concerning the delivery of student loans, and will specifically identify:

 Clarification of delivery problems of student loans and extent to which students were effected
 Issues that contributed to delivery problems regarding student loans in early 2000, including delivery of student allowances;
 Recommended solutions to those problems
 Who is responsible for resolution, by when

Responsibility for the Evaluation: Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Policy.

INVITED STAKEHOLDERS:

General submissions will not be sought. Submissions and/or interviews will be invited from specific stakeholders as follows:

Government
 Department of Work and Income
 Ministry of Education
 Inland Revenue Department

Tertiary Institutions and Student Bodies
 New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA)
 Te Mana Akonga: The Maori University Students Association
 Aotearoa Postsecondary Student Union (APSU)
 University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA)
 New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NZVCC)
 Association of Polytechnics in New Zealand (APNZ)
 Association of Colleges of Education in New Zealand (ACENZ)
 New Zealand Association of Private Education Providers
 Association of Maori Private Training Establishments
 Association of Private Providers of Training and Education
 Te Tauihu o nga Wananga: The National Association of Wananga

Other
 Any other group which the Evaluation Team consider would assist the Evaluation.

The State Services Commission will be consulted during the course of the Evaluation.

Written documentation from the Department of Work and Income and the Ministry of Education will be provided on request to the review team, at the direction of the Minister of Social Services and Employment/Associate Minister of Education.

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