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Loan scheme a goldmine for student politicians

Loan scheme a goldmine for student politicians

Despite complaints from student politicians, the student loan scheme is a goldmine for compulsory student groups because it allows the cost of compulsory student association membership to be hidden in the amount students pay at enrolment, voluntary membership lobbyists Student Choice said today.

Students are able to borrow money through the loan scheme to pay for compulsory student association fees.  Approximately half of all money students are forced to pay to compulsory student associations is borrowed under the loan scheme.  Students' ability to borrow compulsory student association fees adds to the level of total student debt.

Compulsory student association membership costs New Zealand tertiary students $25 million dollars a year.  Most of the money taken under compulsory membership goes to paying wages for student association employees, and subsidising clubs and student media.  In most cases student associations do not provide non-academic services such as health and counselling, crèches, bars and recreation centres; students fund these services through separate levies.

Student politicians will not argue for the removal of the ability to pay student association fees through the loan scheme because that would mean students would have to pay association fees directly from their own pockets.  This would cause students to question why they are forced to fund student politicians in order to obtain a tertiary education.

Students should be free to study without being forced to join student associations and fund student politics.

Student Choice promotes freedom of association through voluntary membership of student associations. 



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