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Loans Scheme Hardest On Pacific Graduates

New Figures Show Loans Scheme Hardest On Pacific Graduates

Pacific Island graduates have the longest student loan repayment times of any ethnic group, according to new figures released today by the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA).

The average length of repayment for a Pacific Island bachelors graduate is 33 years for a woman, and 21 years for a man. This compares to the average for all graduates of 28 years for a woman and 15 years for a man.

“We’ve known for years that the student loan scheme punishes women. Now we know that Pacific peoples have the longest repaymet times and therefore pay the most interest for their tertiary education,” said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell. “They borrow more than their classmates and earn less upon graduating, and so this group is doubly disadvantaged.”

Pacific students from all around the country are meeting this weekend at their annual Fono at Waikato University. “Pacific students and their families will be demanding answers as to how the loans scheme can be changed so that they are not shackled with debt for their whole working lives,” said Campbell.

The current review of the loans scheme needs to come up with a student support system that does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or gender. “The impact of current policy is far from neutral – it penalises the very groups that this government say they want to encourage into tertiary education.”

“In recent weeks the government has committed funding to the administration of education for Pacific peoples,” said Andrew Campbell. “They now need to back that up with support for Pacific students.”

The NZUSA figures were calculated on the basis of the Iversen model, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to show how long it would take loans to be repaid on the basis of gender. They have been updated using 2001 figures on average yearly borrowing by full time, full year students by ethnicity and on the income of bachelor’s graduates by ethnicity from the last Census.


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