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Improved Student Loan Reporting To Be Introduced

Strengthened reporting requirements improving the information publicly available about the student loan scheme are to be introduced, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey said Ministers had carefully considered the June 2000 report of the Controller and Auditor-General into the publicly available accountability information about the student loan scheme and had taken a series of decisions. New requirements will include reporting against a new series of socio-economic indicators and improved debt level forecasting to take into account those borrowers who are expected to default on their loan.

"The Government agrees with the Auditor-General that there has been insufficient information publicly available about the student loans scheme. From this year new information is to be made publicly available and we are working to further improve the usefulness of the data collected by several agencies.

"The measures include:
* the Student Loan Scheme Annual Report will be tabled in Parliament annually, as recommended by the Auditor-General's report;
* details about the amount borrowed by students and the level of repayments will be published on the Inland Revenue (IRD) and Department of Work and Income (DWI) websites quarterly;
* we have asked for work to be undertaken on integrating the data collected by DWI, IRD and the Ministry of Education so that the socio-economic and educational outcomes of the scheme can be included in the annual report. This investigation, due to be completed by April, will also consider the privacy and logistical issues associated with data integration; and,
* several agencies have responsibilities for the loans scheme. The Government has asked each agency to review its role and to identify accountability gaps which need closing. This advice is due with Ministers shortly.

"Students and graduates now owe $3.5b in student loan debt. This new series of reporting requirements will ensure proper and accurate information is readily available about the loans scheme," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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