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John Key’s student loan comments reveal concerning agenda

13 March 2012

John Key’s student loan comments reveal concerning agenda

John Key’s comment that the student loan scheme will be reined in “in a big way” will be bad news for students, the Green Party said today.

“While I welcome John Key’s commitment to retaining interest-free student loans for some, I am concerned about the implications of his comments for access to tertiary education,” Green Party Students and Youth Spokesperson Holly Walker said.

“Any moves to restrict access to student loans and allowances will prevent potential students from up-skilling and retraining, when this is exactly what we need them to do in these recessionary times.”

I am concerned that changes to the student loan scheme could result in fewer students accessing tertiary study, especially those from low-income backgrounds for whom alternative sources of funding are not available.

“The National-led Government has already restricted access to tertiary study in a number of ways.

“Changing University Entrance eligibility criteria, restricting access to the Training Incentive Allowance, and stopping Permanent Residents from accessing Studylink are all moves that increased barriers to higher education.

“John Key’s comments also reveal his Government’s attitude towards students and young people,” said Ms Walker.

“His implication that they are too lazy to “get out of bed before 7 o’clock at night to vote” shows their policy is not about what is best for students but what he thinks is best for National’s vote.”

The news comes on the same day that Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has proposed publishing tables of average earnings for graduates for certain courses.

“Steven Joyce claims he wants to solve the problem of 16 year-olds making poor subject choices at school and finding themselves ineligible for tertiary study later, but a more effective way to do this is to preserve open access to tertiary education, including student loans,” said Ms Walker.


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