Student Loan Scheme Act a mixed bag for students and graduates
The cost of study will go up yet again as borrowers are charged new fees in the Student Loan Scheme Act passed under
urgency in Parliament today. On the positive side, student representatives will celebrate good administrative changes in
“This Bill was intended to improve the administration, efficiency and ease of use of the Student Loan Scheme, however
the original draft contained several concerning clauses, particularly those altering repayment obligations from an
annual to a pay-period system,” says NZUSA Co-President David Do.
“We were very concerned that a shift to pay-period assessments would negatively affect students who worked a lot during
the holidays but as much during the year. They could have a low annual income that was under the current annual
repayment threshold, yet be forced to make loan repayments from their holiday work because they have a ‘high’ weekly
income of just $367 a week for a short period of time,” said Do.
Consultation and lobbying on the proposed changes took place throughout 2009 and 2010 with the public and NZUSA,
resulting in the amendments recommended by the Select Committee.
“We welcome the provision to ensure exemptions are provided for full time full year students and part year full time
students. We are pleased that students will now not be penalised for working and saving to support themselves in study,”
Other changes in the Act, lobbied for by students, include long overdue legislative provision for the electronic
management of loans, and for overpayments to be refunded to the borrower (in keeping with other excess repayments).
“Students and graduates will appreciate the ability to get their full student loan details online, without having to
switch between different IRD and Studylink systems,” says NZUSA Co-President Max Hardy.
“This is yet another example of successful advocacy on behalf of students and graduates by students’ associations, and
is evidence of the positive contribution these organisations make to tertiary policy and the education sector,” says
“We do however remain concerned at the new and increased administration fees in the Bill. One would assume that the
Bill’s provision for electronic management of loans and improved systems at IRD and Studylink would lead to cost savings
to government. In this context, these new fees seem like an unnecessary tax. Disappointingly, they make it harder to pay
off a loan and do little to help attack the growing mountain of student debt, due to hit $12 billion this year,”
NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students, and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.
We stand for opportunity, for all.
NZUSA is the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations, the national body that represents New Zealand's students'
associations and the interests of New Zealand's 400,000 students at universities, polytechnics and in trades training.
We conduct original research, advocate to Government and through the media, and support New Zealand's students'
associations to be more effective on behalf of their members. We advocate alongside Te Mana Akonga – The National Māori
Students' Association, and Tertiary Women New Zealand – The NZUSA Women's Caucus.
Since 1929, we've believed in a society rich in opportunity, where anyone from anywhere can become any thing. We
support accessible, affordable quality public tertiary education.