Working kiwis are burdened by student debt according to a report released today by the New Zealand Union of Students (NZUSA).
The Income and Expenditure Report has found that students in tertiary education are facing some of the hardest times they have ever faced.
“With student debt to reach $15,000,000,000 in 2016 and the typical graduate entering their working life with a debt of $50,000, we have a situation which is simply untenable.” CTU Secretary Sam Huggard said.
“Getting a tertiary qualification is increasingly unaffordable with student support failing to keep up with costs including rapidly rising fees. The report shows that increasingly the decision to study and choice of course is based on cost, not on talent or interest.”
“The report also shows an increasing divide between those who have parents who can help them through tertiary study and those from poorer back grounds who mount up increasing debt or are even forced to drop out.” Huggard said.
This is shown by falling participation in tertiary education. Ministry of Education data shows the participation rate taking age into account has steadily fallen by a sixth from 12.3% of the population in 2008 to 10.2% in 2014 since this Government took office. It is particularly affecting people aged 20 or over, many of whom are looking for a second chance or needing to retrain because of changes in their jobs and industries. “Both from the point of view of workers as learners, and in terms of New Zealand having the range of skills needed for to drive our industries and sectors, this is a worrying trend,” Sam Huggard said.