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New Statistics On Student Loans

May 2 2002

The Government has approved funding for the creation of new statistical information on the student loans scheme, Statistics Minister Laila Harré and Associate Education Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

The Ministers said the project aims to address a number of the concerns raised by the Auditor-General in a report on the Student Loan Scheme in 2000.

"The Auditor-General was critical of the information available on the scheme. New data will now be available that will improve forecasting, reporting of the asset in crown accounts, understanding the cost of the scheme to the Crown, and assist in the development of policies on student financial support."

“The most interesting statistics from the public's point of view will be those relating to how the effects of the scheme differ across the population,” Laila Harré and Steve Maharey said.

“For example, new statistics will assist in showing repayment profiles and distributions for men and women and how these differ by age.

The statistics will reveal the groups that get interest write-offs, the proportion of borrowers who go overseas, and the proportion of those people who repay their loans.”

Statistics New Zealand will create the dataset by linking together student loan information from three agencies - tertiary enrolment information from the Ministry of Education, loan borrowing information from the Ministry for Social Development, and loan repayment and income information from Inland Revenue.

The initial dataset will contain information on students who took out a student loan between 1997 and 2000.

The Ministers said that Statistics New Zealand will undertake the work because of the department's unique role in official statistics and the extremely high levels of protection it gives individual records.

“No names and addresses will be retained on the dataset, and the dataset will be used only for statistical purposes.”

Laila Harré and Steve Maharey confirmed the Privacy Commissioner had been consulted throughout the development of the project and there are no privacy issues still outstanding.

"The Privacy Commissioner is comfortable with the methodology being proposed.”

Statistics New Zealand will spend the next few months integrating data to establish the new dataset.

The first new statistics from the project are expected at the end of September 2002.

The dataset will be updated annually as each new year’s enrolment, borrowing and repayment information is added.

Ends

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