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PTEs offer cash incentives for enrolment

Pansy Wong
National Party Associate Education Spokeswoman

6 April 2006

PTEs offer cash incentives for enrolment

Some private training institutions (PTEs) are allegedly using the student loans scheme to provide cash incentives to boost enrolments, says National Associate Education spokeswoman Pansy Wong.

The PTEs appear to be offering cash-back rewards as high as $3,000 to migrant senior citizens as an incentive to draw down student loans from StudyLink to pay fees as high as $9,000.

Mrs Wong says she has received a number of complaints about the practice.

“These PTEs are targeting older people, particularly migrants seeking to learn English who are taking on heavy student loans without understanding exactly what the implications will be.”

The number of student loan applicants at PTEs over the age of 60 has more than doubled in the past year with total debt for over-60s standing at more than $85 million – most of which is unlikely to be repaid because people on pensions earn less than the $16,000 loan repayment threshold.

“The student loan scheme was designed to ensure meaningful tertiary education was available to everyone.

“The lack of action by Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope and his department on complaints received has allowed the problem to escalate,” says Mrs Wong.

ENDS

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