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Universities should be liable for overseas student debt

Universities need to bear some responsibility for allowing students to rack up hundreds of thousands in debt, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The fact some former students owe the taxpayer more than $400,000 is alarming. This is an obvious symptom of both the Government and Universities nudging students into heavily subsidised courses that aren’t leading to decent work opportunities.”

“Universities, which are funded primarily by taxpayers, need to do more than just put bums on seats – they have a responsibility to guide students towards useful courses, and away from of debt-traps.”

“When a student’s debt reaches the point where it is clear they will never pay it back, and they’re overseas so the Government cannot prosecute them, universities should become liable for a portion of that debt. This will give universities an incentive to promote career paths with good salaries, and therefore prompt repayment of debt to taxpayers.”

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