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Student loan interest write-off hits $64m

20 September 2001 Media Statement

Student loan interest write-off hits $64m

The amount of interest written off student loans in the first year of the Government's 'no-interest-while-studying' policy has hit $64.7m, up from $30m in May, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

The additional write-offs follow confirmation by Inland Revenue of the income earned by part-time students in the tax year ended 31 March 2001. To qualify to have loan interest written off a student must either be studying full-time or be studying part-time and earning under the income threshold (those earning under $24,596 for the year to 31 March 2001).

"Cutting the cost to students of tertiary education, starting with a fairer loans scheme, was a key election pledge. The Government has kept its word to stop student debt spiralling out of control.

"In the first year of our no-interest-while-studying policy 72,203 borrowers have now had $64,746,532 in interest charges written off their loan balances.

"These write-offs amount to an average of nearly $900 per borrower.

"Making tertiary education more affordable is an intelligent investment in our future and sends a clear signal that education is the key to unlocking New Zealanders potential.

"It is still not to late to apply for an interest write-off. If you haven't provided Inland Revenue with your correct details or you forgot to apply you can do so at any stage in the future simply by contacting the Department. You can also use Inland Revenue’s website to do this at www.ird.govt.nz," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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