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May 10, 2010 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Joyce! You sly dog

Trying to sneak more money out of us

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has found a way to sneak some extra cash out of the Student Loan scheme. Sadly the money is not for students, but for the government coffers.

Joyce last week announced the latest in a long line of proposals to screw over students.

The latest offering is an annual $50 administration fee to be charged to both students and graduates with student loans.

The $50 fee is expected to affect more than 500,000 New Zealanders, and will net the government $15 million each year, as part of a package intended to recover the increasing costs of the student loan scheme.

Joyce says “We’re looking at an ongoing account fee which will be a flat amount and just helps to recover the costs of administering the system.

“The write-off of the administration costs is massive, and so what we’re looking at is whether we can come up with a reasonable fee which people continue to pay as long as they’ve got a loan account.”

Green Party Associate Tertiary Education Spokesperson Gareth Hughes has accused Joyce of “charging interest by stealth”, in a bid to avoid altering Labour’s interest-free loans policy.

“The size of the country’s student debt is a big concern, but trying to circumvent the interest-free policy by the backdoor isn’t the way to address it.”

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) co-President Pene Delaney agrees, saying Joyce’s proposal ignores the “drivers of debt—high fees, lack of access to allowances and borrowing to live”.

Delaney also points out that New Zealand is falling behind Australia in tertiary funding.

“Last year’s Australian budget significantly boosted funding into tertiary institutions and student support. In contrast, last year’s budget here failed to increase funding to meet higher demand and support quality.”

The current $50 admin fee on borrowing while studying is also expected to rise for the first time since 1992 to $60.

Joyce vs. Students

Joyce…

  • Restrict open-entry for over-20s
  • Performance criteria for loans
  • Time limit on loans
  • $50 admin fee on all current debts
  • Some government funding to be linked to student performance
  • Reducing number of courses
  • Removing fee caps on expensive courses
  • Reducing access to loans for new residents
  • (Drinking age and driving stuff as Transport Minister)

Students…

  • Three sweet photoshop pics
  • Some Re-Joyce puns
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