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March 10, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Shock! Scandal! Student loans increasing

Figures released last week by Statistics New Zealand show that student debt continues to rise, in the latest of a series of recent publications demonstrating the financial difficulties students face while studying.

The average student loan had reached a high of $15,590 in 2005, up six per cent from $14,730 in 2004. The increase follows an upward trend since 1992.

“Tuition fees continue to rise, and most students still can’t access a student allowance. Because of this, student debt is going to hit $10 billion this year,” Auckland University’s Student Association President, David Do says.

“If students didn’t have to borrow to live, they wouldn’t be graduating with so much debt for life.”

The figures from Statistics New Zealand follow NZUSA publications and surveys conducted by Westpac Tertiary Banking, which each showed that students’ key concerns were financial.

A third report, Student Loans and Allowances: 2006, identified that in 2006, the student loan scheme saw the highest number of borrowers and the largest increase in borrowing since 2001.

“This report clearly shows current policy on student support is unsustainable. No amount of government spin can hide the fact that the current system doesn’t work,” New Zealand Union of Student Associations’ (NZUSA) Co- President, Liz Hawes says.

NZUSA has called for the introduction of a living allowance for all students in order to address the nation’s growing problem of student debt.

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