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Protest - amendment needs to be made for the 7 EFTS policy

Press Release
Thursday 11 September

From Auckland University Medical Student Association

An amendment needs to be made for the 7 EFTS policy

Medical students from the University of Auckland will be found on the 11th September on Queen Street, Auckland at 12.30pm raising awareness to try to push from an amendment to be made of the 7 EFTS policy.

The 7 EFTS policy means students can only borrow for seven years’ worth of study. Once this limit has been reached, students can no longer claim any student loan or allowance from Studylink whatsoever, and are required to cover all study costs themselves.

“The 7 EFTS cap was created in order to target students who are not finishing their degrees and move them into the workforce. As a result, however, the cap is disproportionately affecting postgraduate Medical students” says 7EFTs officer, Worod Al-Tiay. This will affect 25-30% of medical students each year.

The government has suggested various alternatives to Study link funding. Unfortunately, none of these constitute a feasible option for all graduate entry students.

1. Trainee Intern grant
• This is a $26,000 stipend received in a student’s final year of medicine.
• This is paid as a monthly stipend, whereas fees are required to be paid in advance.
• This does not assist students who hit the 7EFTS cap in their penultimate year of study.

2. External Loans
• No major banks are willing to extend credit to students with minimal
income and no assets without a guarantor. As discussed earlier, not all students may access a guarantor, especially those from lower socio- economic groups.
• The interest burden of a bank loan will be enormous, especially given it may be up to 2 years before income is generated to begin to pay it down.

4. Family
• Many students are unable to rely on their family for the large sums of
money required.

5. Employment or savings
• To earn the $20,000 required to pay for the course and living costs, a student would need to work for at least 20 hours per week earning $20.00 per hour after tax, and save all of it. This is not feasible given the large course load.

We agree with the original aims of the 7 EFTS cap, but believe that post-graduate entry medical students have been caught out (perhaps unintentionally) by the policy.
The existing exemptions framework could easily be expanded to include postgraduate entry medical students, and we strongly feel it should.

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