New figures from the IRD showing a sustained increase in expat graduates paying off their student loans is great news according to the founder of the Heroic Educated Kiwi Expatriate (HEKE) campaign.
The total amount of gross repayments made directly from overseas-based student loan borrowers to Inland Revenue was $8.9 million for May 2011 and $6.9 million for June 2011—up 45 and 38 percent on those months in 2010.
While the direct impact of the HEKE campaign is unclear, the result of an extra $9 million repaid is encouraging for all New Zealanders, says founder, New Zealander of the Year and Victoria University Professor Sir Paul Callaghan.
The campaign, which asks expat Kiwi graduates to make a significant contribution to the Christchurch earthquake recovery mission by paying back their student loans, coincided with more active targeting of loan defaulters by IRD in recent months.
"By paying off their loans these students are not only making life easier for themselves, they are directly helping New Zealand's balance sheet by providing a healthy shot of external funds into the country—something we need desperately in the wake of the devastating Christchurch earthquakes."
He says if the higher level of repayment is sustained, it would represent a significant contribution to New Zealand's ability to rebuild Christchurch, and shows the things that can be achieved when New Zealanders work together to achieve a goal.
Professor Sir Paul Callaghan will next month deliver a lecture in Wellington about creating a prosperous 21st century New Zealand through investing in science and education.
Inaugural Chancellor's Lecture—Professor Sir Paul Callaghan
Wednesday 14 September, 6pm
Wellington Town Hall (entrances via Civic Square and Wakefield St)
There is no charge for the lecture but to secure a place email email@example.com or call (04) 463 9665. Seats are limited.
For more information on HEKE visit www.heke.ac.nz
To join the discussion on Facebook, "like" HEKE at www.facebook.com/hekeproject
Follow HEKE on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hekeproject