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Student Loan Borrowers: 1997-2002

Student Loan Borrowers: 1997-2002 - 29 November 2004

Three Fields of Study Show Largest Student Loan Debt

Only students studying natural and physical sciences, architecture and building, or health who borrowed under the Student Loan Scheme in any of the years from 1997 to 2002 had median student loan balances over $10,000 in March 2003.

This finding comes from a new set of official statistics on student loan borrowers released today by Statistics New Zealand. Two more years of data have been added to the dataset, which links the education and loan characteristics of students who borrowed under the Student Loan Scheme in any of the years 1997 to 2002. The data shows that, of students who borrowed under the scheme in 2002, 9 percent had repaid the amount they borrowed before their loan was transferred from StudyLink to Inland Revenue (IRD) for that year.

Just under half of borrowers had loans of less than $5,000 transferred for 2002. In 2002, those enrolled for a bachelor's degree borrowed an average of $6,200, which was higher than the mean level of borrowing for all other qualification types that year. On average, students who borrowed at any time between 1997 and 2002 had a mean loan balance of $12,280 by March 2003. Half of them owed less than $8,220.

The highest median loan balances in March 2003 were held by men ($8,680, compared with $7,860 for women); by people aged in their twenties in 2002 ($11,330 for those aged 25–29 years and $10,690 for those aged 20–24 years); and by loan holders who identified as belonging to an ethnic group other than European, Mäori, Pacific peoples or Asian ($10,050). Media Release Email: Toll free : 0508 525 525 Auckland Phone: 09 920 9100 Our Information Centres are at: Wellington Phone: 04 931 4600 Christchurch Phone: 03 964 8700

Students who took out a loan between 1997 and 2001 and advised IRD they were resident overseas in 2002 owed $8,880 more on average than those who remained in New Zealand. Loan holders who were overseas had an average loan balance of $19,550 in March 2003, compared with $10,670 for New Zealand residents. Student loan holders who were overseas in 2002 made up around 7 percent of those who borrowed between 1997 and 2001.

This data supplements information published by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development (StudyLink) and Inland Revenue in the "Annual Report: Student Loan Scheme" in October 2004, and adds to the integrated dataset originally created in 2002 to enable research to be carried out on the Student Loan Scheme. The new statistics can be accessed free from Statistics New Zealand's website ( Statistics New Zealand plans to update the statistics in 2005.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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