The average situation of the individual student continues to improve, Minister for Tertiary Education Pete Hodgson said today.
Commenting on the New Zealand University Student Association‘s protests over student debt levels, Pete Hodgson said the lot of the individual student is now better than it was ten years ago.
“Average student debt is now rising more slowly than the average wage and student loan payback time has reduced from nine and half years in 2001 to under six years today. The situation for the individual student is better.”
“In the 1990’s as the MP for Dunedin North my electorate office and campus clinics were full of students in tears because of their financial situations,” Pete Hodgson said.
“I haven’t had that for years. This Labour – led government has sought to rebuild the trust that was lost during that decade of National government.”
He said measures introduced include:
• abolishing interest on all student loans to stop debts escalating
• capping tuition fees
• increasing the parental income threshold for allowances so that over half of eligible students now receive a non-repayable allowance
“Of course the total student debt continues to rise because, apart from inflation, more students are accessing education and more students are studying to a higher level,” he said.
“That’s a good thing. But it’s also a good thing that the lot of an individual student continues to improve.”