INDEPENDENT NEWS

Budget Prevents Doctors from Graduating

Published: Sun 24 May 2015 01:39 PM
Budget Prevents Doctors from Graduating
The release of Budget 2015 confirms the fears of medical students with future hopes of joining the medical workforce in New Zealand. They won't have the opportunity to finish their degrees. A Medical degree in New Zealand requires 6 years of study, making it the longest undergraduate degree in the country. Each year 30% of the class is selected by the universities from a pool of applicants with a previous degree.
The government's continued time restrictions on student loans means there is no hope for about 150 students annually who cannot stump up at least $15,000 in the final year of study, in some cases $30,000 for the last two years.
New Zealand Medical Students' Association President Elizabeth Berryman says it just doesn't add up.
"The government spends thousands of dollars each year on training doctors and for them to undercut their own investment so severely makes no sense at all".
Official Information obtained from Steven Joyce, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, shows that medical students are unable to borrow from private lenders because they are unable to provide security and aren't earning an income. In fact, all of the alternative funding opportunities suggested by Mr. Joyce aren't possibilities.
"Mr. Joyce also suggests that we ask family and friends for money to finish the degree. I don't think he realises that that isn't an option for most people. Mr. Joyce should know by now this policy was flawed from the beginning. The blatant ignorance and lack of accountability is disturbing."
Not only does this policy prevent doctors from graduating but as, a result, also delays their repayment of student loans.
"For a government with such a huge focus on student loan repayment it boggles the mind to think they want to delay our loan repayments. As students with large amounts of debt there is nothing we would like more than the opportunity to pay that back."
The policy begins to affect a small number of students in November 2015. A larger cohort, about 150, will be affected every November thereafter.
ends

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