More Needed To Back Up No Interest While Studying

Published: Fri 26 Sep 2003 04:22 PM
Fleur Fitzsimons
NZUSA Co-President
More needed to back up no interest while studying
Students have welcomed the government announcement that $240 million in interest charges on student loans has been written off and are calling on the government to take further steps to make the loan scheme fairer.
"The no interest on student loans policy was a good start, but students and graduates are waiting for further changes to make the loans scheme fairer and address the one of the key drivers of high student debt - lack of access to living allowances," said Fleur Fitzsimons, Co-President of the New Zealand University Students' Association.
"It's only fair that current students do not pay market interest rates to the government," said Fitzsimons. "But if more students had access to living allowances, there would not have been such huge amounts borrowed and less interest for government to write off."
"Labour has now been in government for four years and student debt has doubled in that time. A living allowance for all students is well overdue and would ensure that students do not have to borrow from the loan scheme to pay for basics like food and accommodation."
"Interest write offs were a good first move for Labour in 1999 but the Government has had four years to back this policy up with further improvements," said Fitzsimons. "How long do students and their families have to wait for increased access to allowances?'

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