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October 6, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Student loan repayment time drops “like a stone”

Recent advice issued by the Ministry of Education to Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson has reported that the time taken for student loans to be repaid has been halved from eight to four years.

According to the Ministry, the median repayment time for those who finished study in 2005 and had remained in New Zealand was four years, compared with eight years for those who had graduated in 1999.

Hodgson said that this decrease was a vindication of the government’s decision to proceed with the interest-free student loan policy for students who chose to stay in New Zealand following graduation.

The Labour-led government’s student loan policy was introduced in April, 2006.

“Let’s recall that this policy was met with derision at the time,” Hodgson said.

“National leader John Key said he would oppose it with every bone in his body. There were howls of dismay that students would rush in and take out loans just because they were zero interest,” he continued.

“Those predictions have not come to pass. Instead the projected repayment time has dropped like a stone.

“Student debt has been a significant social issue ever since the early 1990s. Back then National promised to scrap the then Labour government’s fee of $1250 per annum. Instead they more than doubled the fees, which then climbed strongly right through the decade.”

“This government has controlled fees, removed interest on loans and made student allowances more readily available. The combined influence of these measures, especially the interest-free policy, is now having its desired effect.

Mindful of the upcoming general elections, Hodgson added: “In our next term Labour wishes to make progress on moving towards, but not directly to, a universal student allowance.”

News in Briefs

After three years of negotiations, VUWSA and the Postgraduate Students’ Association (PGSA) will be signing a Relationship Agreement this Tuesday. The Agreement acknowledges that the increasing value placed on research, as reflected in the government’s tertiary education and funding policies, namely the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF), has created a new area where VUWSA and PGSA “may work cooperatively.” While PGSA will be directly accountable to postgraduate students, it will still be required to adhere to the VUWSA Constitution. The exact amount of funding that VUWSA will provide to PGSA was not identified in the Agreement, but it was stated that funding will be at a level that “nurtures and supports PGSA.”

The Counselling Service will be offering a free BBQ and soup for students in the Quad this Tuesday ahead of the exam period between 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Information on self-care and wellbeing will also be available.

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