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NZ First student loan policy a welcome contribution

NZ First student loan policy a welcome contribution

Student leaders are welcoming New Zealand First’s contribution to the political debate around student debt, with a signal that party is serious about focusing on youth and addressing the nation’s student debt problem by matching borrowers’ student loan repayments dollar for dollar.

“Student debt will hit $12 billion this year. Policies that will help reduce the massive student debt held in our communities will have huge benefits for the country. It would assist graduates in becoming debt-free faster, help fill workforce shortages by keeping skilled workers in New Zealand, and would attract overseas-based graduates back home,” says David Do, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

Student debt continues to have a major impact on the decisions of graduates In NZUSA’s 2010 Income and Expenditure Survey, students at universities and polytechnics were asked about the impact their student loan would have on a range of factors. The highest perceived impacts were:

* the ability to buy a house (72%),
* deciding when to go overseas (69%),
* saving for the future (65%),
* on the amount eligible to borrow on a mortgage (63%), and
* deciding whether to go overseas (62%).

Mr Peters made the announcement at the party’s annual conference held over the weekend, joining the Greens, the Maori Party and United Future in having progressive anti-debt policies. Also, Labour and National have committed to keeping off interest off student loans.

“It is pleasing to see political parties committed to clearing the debt burden felt by many New Zealanders. We also need to look at how to significantly attack the drivers of student debt - high fees and lack of access to student allowances. Tertiary students look forward to further policy announcements from across the political spectrum as the general election draws close,” concludes Do.

NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.

ENDS

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