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Medical Students’ Loan Let-down

Medical Students’ Loan Let-down


New Zealand Medical Students’ Association campaigner Alex Hedley today called on the Government to reverse its decision to stop student loans for postgraduate medical students in their final years of study.

“The so-called 7EFTS policy is preventing young doctors from finishing their degrees.

“We have surveyed our members. Fourty five percent of students expect they would not be able to complete their training without access to student loan.

“This policy targets medical students at the end of their training, a time when having a part time job is an unreasonable expectation. The 7EFTS limitation undermines medical training with financial stress being a serious threat to a quality education.

The medical student debt of those affected is typically over $100,000 and will be difficult to repay without relevant qualifications.

“In our survey of 406 members, four out of ten were unaware of the policy change that could stop them borrowing to complete their degrees.

Medicine is unusual in that gaining a qualification takes longer. It makes sense to have an exemption. The state also invests hundreds of thousands in each medical student’s education and if the 7EFTS rule continues, that money too will be wasted.

“Ministers have promised to review policies, but those promises are wearing thin. Time is passing and students want certainty about their future prospects.

“An extension to loan access for medical student will allow us to enter the healthcare workforce and pay back our existing debt.

“When there is a shortage of rural GPs, it is hard to fathom why the National Government wants to consign a quarter of all future doctors to the dole queue,” Alex Hedley said.

“Minister Joyce has told us that there are plenty of other sources of funding to complete our studies. He is adament that we will be able to secure a private loan despite the banks making it clear they will not lend money to our members.

Among bank loans the Minister suggested asking friends and family, using the Trainee Intern (TI) grant or applying for the voluntary bonding scheme.

“These suggestions are unhelpful because they make no attempt at solving the problem.

ends

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