INDEPENDENT NEWS

Student Loans:The more you know, the less you like

Published: Mon 10 Jul 2000 09:08 AM
The student loans scheme is facing a crisis of confidence with borrowers' resentment towards the scheme increasing the longer they are in debt according to research commissioned by Inland Revenue Department.
The Aotearoa Post-compulsory Student Union (APSU) received, under the Official Information Act, a copy of an AC Nielsen research project, commissioned by IRD, on strategies to reduce student loan debt.
One of the key findings of the report was that the longer a person had a student loan and the more they knew about it, the more their attitudes hardened towards the scheme.
While 43% of current loan debtors felt favourable about the student loans scheme when they first took on their debts, a massive 80% had negative perceptions about the scheme after living with the debt for sometime.
Even the overwhelming majority of people that had managed to pay off their loan held negative attitudes towards the student loan scheme.
"Governments have tried to con New Zealanders that the student loans system is fair, because repayments are contingent on earnings and if you don't pay off the interest, the Government will write some of it off," says David Penney, APSU National President.
"This survey paints a different picture. The overwhelming majority of participants in the survey were 'opposed to student loans'."
"The IRD survey noted that some borrowers were paralysed by their debts and some were horrified to learn that they had been making repayments for four years and reduced their debt by less than $1000."
"The survey is more evidence that the Government is not doing enough to inform students at the time of borrowing about the implications of living with a student loan debt."
ENDS For more comment contact:
David Penney
National President
025 756 526 (cell) 04 498 2501 (work) 04 971 1793 (home)

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