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Discussion document to canvass student support

23 January 2002 Media Statement

Discussion document to canvass student support reform options

The government will publish a document for public discussion on options for reform of the financial support provided to tertiary students this year, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Steve Maharey tabled the government’s response to the Education and Science Select Committee’s October 2001 inquiry into student fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education in Parliament today. The report highlighted public concern about the student debt on individuals and called for greater transparency about its long-term impact on individuals.

The report tabled today outlines initiatives the government has taken to make tertiary education more affordable for students, describes the government’s response to the Auditor-General’s report on the student loan scheme and indicates on-going work on student support following the Committee’s report.

“Making tertiary education more affordable has been a key priority for the Labour-Alliance government. We have spent more than $800 million over a four year period on a series of initiatives including wiping the interest off student loans, freezing fees and introducing new programmes for students to gain relevant qualifications, like Modern Apprenticeships.

“We are also implementing the Auditor-General’s 2000 report on publicly available information about the student loan scheme so that students have better access to quality information about taking on a loan.

“This year we will be publishing a document for public discussion on options for further reform of the student support system. We remain committed to further lowering the cost of tertiary education and we want to hear from students and others how this can best be achieved.

“The document will be published in May,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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