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TWFG Concerned About Impact Of Borrowing To Study

2 March 2012

The Tertiary Women’s Focus Group (TWFG) is concerned about the effect that borrowing has on women entering tertiary education. With students starting university for 2012, many are learning what tertiary education will cost them. For women this cost can be exacerbated even further when other factors are taken into consideration.

TWFG believes that borrowing for post-secondary education disproportionately disadvantages women, especially second-chance learners and student parents.

“Women on average get paid less than their male counterparts and therefore many will take longer to pay off their student loans. In addition, when a woman has a child, they are more likely to stay at home with their children and unable to make loan repayments,” says National Women’s Rights Officer, Ta’ase Vaoga. "As a consequence of such factors, women may be more likely to forego study if they have to carry the burden of a loan for a longer period of time,” Vaoga continues.

Ms Vaoga said that a universal allowance for students, and the reinstatement of the Training Incentive Allowance (TIA) for sole parents in study, would help ease the financial stress and encourage participation in tertiary education.

“Access to student allowances and financial support for second-chance learners, and in particular student parents, is important,” Ms Vaoga said.

“These people struggle to provide for their families in the short term while they’re trying to upskill for the long term. The last thing they want to do is increase their personal financial burden by borrowing further just to get ahead. The math just doesn't add up,” said Vaoga.

“It is basic economics — education increases the likelihood of employment, so citizens can contribute to their communities more and rely on state assistance less,” said Vaoga.

“Tertiary education is a public good, the whole of society benefits in the long term. It is about time that we acknowledge that and build policy that reflects the value that tertiary education has in society," concluded Vaoga.

The TWFG is the autonomous women's organising group within the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations, the national representative body for tertiary students.



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