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Thousands apply for student loan amnesty

Thousands apply for student loan amnesty

The student loan amnesty has provided thousands of overseas borrowers with the opportunity to make a fresh start on their student loan.

The amnesty was available to student loan borrowers who were living overseas, had fallen behind in their repayments and would have incurred late payment penalties on their loan without the amnesty.

More than 13,000 borrowers applied by the deadline of 31 March 2008 and have agreed to begin making regular repayments on their student loans.

"This is a very good result," said Student Loans Programme Director Ron Grindle. "We're delighted with the response, given that borrowers overseas are a difficult group to contact.

"Reaching these people was our biggest challenge. However, the advertising campaign targeting eligible borrowers and their friends and families, spread over nine months and conducted here and overseas, proved to be very successful."

Mr Grindle said that while those student loan borrowers who hadn't applied for the amnesty by the deadline are getting a penalty added to their loan balance, they will be no worse off. "The penalty will be no greater than the original late payment penalties that would have applied," he said.

"Student loan borrowers have an obligation to repay their loans and, if they're going overseas for more than six months, to tell us," said Mr Grindle. "We urge all student loan borrowers who are considering going overseas to make sure they talk to us before they go."

For more information on student loan repayment obligations, visit www.ird.govt.nz/studentloans

ENDS

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