The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) is calling for a national conversation about student debt in light of a recent study about rising loans for medical students.
A recent University of Auckland study has found that medical students are carrying higher levels of student loan debt year on year; and that this could impact their choice to enter careers that are more highly paid over areas of high need.
‘When graduates might be choosing to enter careers that are more highly paid over areas of high need, it shows how rising student debt creates real implications on society as a whole’, says National President Jonathan Gee.
The findings follow a recent study by NZUSA which assessed the implications of student loan debt on a graduates’ future.
The Income and Expenditure Report 2017 found that 78% of students feel that their debt will have a significant impact on their ability to save for their retirement. It also found that repayment times were increasing, with significant inequalities between repayment times for men and women, and Pākeha compared with Māori and Pasifika.
‘We must also consider those who might be locked out from even considering a career in medicine due to high costs. Large student loan debt for qualifications such as medicine create a poverty of opportunity for many of our poorest families’, Gee said.