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Student loan interest 'Wipe Out' campaign begins

Envelopes start arriving in student letterboxes across the country this week containing details about how they can apply to have the interest added to their loan this year written off, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

All full-time students and part-time students earning $24 596 or less qualify for a full student loan interest write-off. The write-offs are applicable to interest charged on loans taken out on or after 1 January 2000, and interest charged from 1 April 2000 on loans taken out in 1999 or earlier. To qualify for the write-off students need to complete and return the material sent to them, or apply via Inland Revenue's website or INFOexpress phone service.

"Wiping the interest off student loans was a key pledge made during the election campaign which the Government has delivered on. A total of $420 million is being invested on this policy over four years to bring the costs of tertiary education down and to stop spiralling levels of student indebtedness.

"Information packs about how to apply for the interest write-off are being sent to all borrowers who have a student loan from this week. All full-time and part-time low-income students will qualify for the interest write-off.

"Student organisations and education providers were involved in designing and testing the information being sent to students to ensure that it is clear and easy to use.

"To get the interest write-off borrowers who studied this year need to provide Inland Revenue with their student ID and tertiary education provider code. Students can provide these details and find further information on the Inland Revenue website at www.ird.govt.nz, or by phoning IRD's INFOexpress on 0800 257 999," Steve Maharey said.


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