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Report shows improved student loan repayments

19 October 2004

Report shows improved student loan repayments

Student loan repayments are up and repayment times are reducing, showing that the government’s moves to cut students’ tertiary education costs are working, Associate Education Minister (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey said today.

One third of all debt incurred since the scheme began has been repaid or written off and that proportion is forecast to rise over the next ten years.

The annual report on the Student Loan Scheme, tabled in Parliament today, shows that the forecast average repayment time has reduced to 9.3 years, down from 10.3 in June 2002. More than $440 million was repaid in 2003/04. The amount repaid since the scheme began – more than $2.3 billion - is around a quarter of all the debt that has been incurred. More than 140,000 New Zealanders have now repaid their student loans in full.

“The total debt level is now expected to rise more slowly as repayments increase,” Steve Maharey said. “By the middle of the next decade it is estimated that the amount repaid each year will be greater than the amount borrowed.

“In this year’s Budget we spent more than $100 million widening access to student allowances, the first of a series of moves planned to enhance student support and reduce dependence on the loan scheme. More generous interest write-off measures have been introduced, and fee stabilisation and the fee and course cost maxima system have kept fee rises in check.

“The government’s work to provide better quality public information about the Student Loan Scheme is progressing well. This year’s report includes some results from the integrated data-set developed under the auspices of Statistics New Zealand as well as the actuarial valuation of the scheme."

ENDS

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