Budget to get harsh on student loans

A Newstalk ZB report said that the government was keeping a close guard on its budget plans for the student loans scheme.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister John Key had indicated that the scheme was in for a major shake-up. Following an ‘Official Information Act’ request, the Education Ministry confirmed that it had prepared eight budget-related reports on the issue but refused to release them until July 2012.

Meanwhile Treasury is being equally close-lipped on the advice it has tendered; so far, it has pushed out the time for making a response to official information requests by another six weeks.

Speaking to NewstalkZB, Labour Party Deputy Leader Grant Robertson feared that some tertiary courses would have their student loan cover removed.

“The government will move to limit student borrowing for courses that are deemed not likely to generate future income. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has already talked about qualifications and income. I think that is the area where you can predict changes,” he said.

Brain drain

On another note, Prime Minister’s Science Adviser Sir Peter Gluckman told the Sunday Star Times that the higher numbers of “scholarship kids” were passing over New Zealand universities to study abroad.

“They are very talented children from top schools and the world is their oyster. There are a number of them going to do their undergraduate degree offshore. The probability of them returning is very low,” he said.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said the number of undergraduate students heading overseas would continue to grow and that he was not concerned.

“We live in a global world. You cannot say you want to stop the world and get off. We want to keep encouraging opportunities for young people.”

Mr Joyce denied that the National Party had made an election promise to stop the brain drain.

“We had promised to ‘increase the success of the New Zealand economy so that more people felt they could be successful here. It does not apply to undergraduates but to people earning high incomes in New Zealand,” he said.

According to Mr Joyce, it was important to look at the trend of undergraduates going overseas as a benefit to New Zealand because it was likely that more students from other countries would also come here.

Source: Tertiary Education Union

Photo : Steven Joyce

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