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Big increase in tertiary qualifications

19 October 2006 Media Statement

Big increase in tertiary qualifications

The number of New Zealanders with a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification has grown by more than 140 percent in the last nine years. And the number of tertiary students has almost doubled.

The growth figures are included in the annual report on the Student Loan Scheme, tabled in Parliament today.

"This shows that the student loan scheme is making higher education available to far more people," said Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen.

At the same time, enrolments by Māori and Pasifika people in tertiary education have increased by 177 percent, and the number of women by 84 percent.

The report also shows that the estimated average time to repay a student loan has dropped from around ten years to nine years. Women are paying off their loans as quickly as men.

"Student loans help people participate in tertiary education, while sharing the cost of that education," said Dr Cullen. "They contribute to many of the country’s priorities by helping people gain skills.

"The Labour-led government has made tertiary education more accessible and more affordable.

"The interest free policy introduced in April builds on that. It has been designed both to further cut the cost to students of tertiary study and to encourage students to invest their skills in the New Zealand economy.

"The current review of the way tertiary organisations are funded aims to help students get better value from their investment in a tertiary education. We are ensuring organisations will be more responsive to the needs of employers, their communities as well as students.

"This is essential if we are to transform this economy. We need more students with the right skills to relieve shortages and help lift economic performance."

  • Annual Report 2006
  • ENDS

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