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Student Loan Debt Hits $4 Billion

Student Loan Debt Hits $4 Billion

On the eve of budget week the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) is calling on tertiary institutions to accept the government’s fee freeze offer after it has been revealed that total student loan debt has passed the $4 billion dollar mark.

“Students have carried the burden of debt for far too long. This week’s budget announcement provides the opportunity for tertiary institutions to stop this situation worsening even further,” said Andrew Campbell, NZUSA Co President.

In response to a written parliamentary question (attached) by Ian Ewen-Street the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary), Steve Maharey, confirmed that total student loan debt exceeded $4 billion in March this year. The student loan scheme annual report released late last year forecasts student loan debt to grow to $5 billion by 2003 and $15.5 billion by 2015.

“High tuition fees and the lack of universal living allowances are a barrier to participation in tertiary education. Access to education will be even further limited if fees go up as a result of institutions refusing to accept the government’s offer.”

“While we believe that tertiary institutions should accept any reasonable offer by the government, there does needs to be a serious reinvestment into tertiary education sooner rather than later,” said Campbell. “We are anxiously awaiting the final report of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission that deals with funding, and are hoping that this will signal a move to considerably more investment in public tertiary education.”

“To reduce student debt levels fees need to come down rather than just being frozen at already high levels, and we believe that the government cannot rely on one-off fee freeze offers for much longer. In the meantime though, tertiary institutions must come to the party in the coming months and stop fees rising to unacceptably high levels,” said Campbell.

For further information:
Andrew Campbell, NZUSA Co-President
Cell: 025 86 86 77 Wk: 04 498 2500


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