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August 16, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Government to Reclaim Overseas Debt on Home Turf

He’s Dunne it again

The government will reduce repayment penalties for students living overseas with student loan debt, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne told students at Auckland University of Technology last Tuesday.

Dunne says that legislation will be introduced in the next few months to implement a number of changes, including an online repayments system. He says a number of students have been made “refugees” because of repayment penalties and hopes that the changes will encourage these students to return home.

“Student debt is a big factor in people’s decisions to leave New Zealand sooner and stay away longer.

“Of course we want many of our young people to go overseas and have those great life experiences, but we also want to attract them home.”

The changes will make it easier for students to repay their debt while overseas and in return will reduce the repayment penalties when they return to New Zealand. This is the first step in the government’s plan to reclaim overseas debt.

“We’re doing more work in this area to try and see if we can get better engagement with them and also keep a better record of where they are and what they’re paying.”

This announcement comes just weeks after Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce announced that the government would look at ways to reduce student debt by targeting students living overseas.

Currently, overseas students account for one fifth of New Zealand’s $283 million of overdue loan repayments.

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