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Alliance Opposes Private Savings Scheme

Alliance Opposes Private Savings Scheme For Teritary Education

6 May 2002

Alliance education spokesperson Liz Gordon today stated her party's clear opposition to the introduction of a private individualised savings scheme for tertiary education.

This was in response to reports that Treasury are investigating a scheme where families would pay into a voluntary savings scheme in order to finance the education of their children.

"The Alliance does not think this is the way forward for tertiary education, as it would reinforce some of the worst inequities created by the student loan scheme. Nor does it help solve any of the huge issues created by user pays education and existing student debt.

"A private savings scheme would be highly regressive as students from rich families will be more able to make contributions to the scheme, leaving those students from poor families unable to escape the debt spiral of student loans.

"It will just move us down the American road where students can only get the education their parents can afford," Dr Gordon said.

She said it was vital that the existing student debt burden was eased. However she did not support tax cuts as this would disproportionally benefit high-income graduates.

"Like the student loan scheme, the proposal for individual savings accounts for tertiary education raises huge issues concerning intergenerational inequity," said Dr Gordon.

The current generation of students have been forced to fund the costs of their tertiary education upfront, whereas their parent's generation got a free education. An individualised savings scheme would put yet more financial burdens on the current generation, as they would feel compelled to put money aside to fund their children's education, as well as servicing their own student loans.

"At a time when there is growing concern about the long term social and economic consequences of large student debts, any moves to entrench debt would be a disaster," Dr Gordon said.

Ends

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