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Maharey's Latest Move Will Increase Student Debt

Monday 17 Dec 2001

ACT Tertiary Education Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman says increasing the interest write-offs will plunge our students deeper into debt.

"Contrary to what Steve Maharey has tried to say, his Government's zero interest while studying policy has led to increased student debt and a higher number of loans.

"Answers to my written parliamentary questions show that the average student loan taken out in 1999 was $4,974, rising to $5,898 last year and $6,121 for the average student loan taken out this year, up to the end of October.

"Further answers to my questions show that in 1999 there were 115,267 student loans taken out, rising to 133,577 last year and 142,329 this year, up to the end of October.

"Outstanding student loans are growing as well. Last year the average size of the outstanding loan had risen to $12,342, from $11,519 a year earlier and $10,136 in 1998.

"Both Treasury and the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission advised against removing interest while studying, as they believed it would increase student debt. Even though they have been proven right, Mr Maharey has proceeded with this latest move which will make the problem worse.

"Luring students into taking bigger loans is absolutely wrong. Mr Maharey and his Government will leave even more of our young with a legacy of even heavier debt," Dr Newman said.


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