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July 12, 2010 | by  | in News | [ssba]

No Joy from Joyce


Students forced to fork out for further study

Some future doctors and those seeking a higher education will be forced to fund some of their own studies after changes made to the Student Loan Scheme earlier this year.

In an exclusive statement to Salient, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce admitted that the changes made to the Loan Scheme in Budget 2010 will mean that some students will not have access to student loans to cover their final years of study.

The loan scheme restructure means students who complete a double degree and honours will likely need to fund any Masters study out of their own pocket, but may then be able to access funding for Doctorate study.

The loan changes also mean students who complete a degree prior to entering medical school will have to fund their last years without a student loan.

A lifetime limit on access to the Student Loan Scheme was introduced in Budget 2010. The limit for undergraduate study is 7 EFTS (Equivalent Full Time Student), with a further 1 EFTS allowed for postgraduate study and 3 EFTS for doctoral study. A full-time student studies between 0.8 and 1.4 EFTS a year. The EFTS count includes all study a student had a Student Loan for from 1 January 2010.

Joyce says policy changes “could be” considered.

“There are currently no additional exemptions to the lifetime limit for specific programmes of study or multiple degrees.

“However, if some programmes of study (such as medicine) turn out to be disproportionately affected by this policy, consideration could be given as to whether additional EFTS should be allocated to those programmes.”

Joyce says the changes to the scheme are “intended to encourage students to make wise choices about their study” and “take the most direct route through their studies in order to ensure they have sufficient entitlement to a student loan”.

Medical students wanting to complete Masters study will have access to the additional allowances to fund further study.

Other Masters students will not be as fortunate. A student completing a double degree (for example Law and Arts) needs approximately 6 EFTS to complete their studies. If the student wants to do Honours and Masters, the current policy means that a student may not have any access to funding for their Masters.

Victoria University Law student Nick Chapman says the government needs to ensure their attempts to regulate student funding do not adversely affect students working towards higher learning.
“Obviously there is a real danger that you will push students away from academia by making it difficult for them to fund their postgraduate study,” he says.

“From a Law perspective in particular, this coupled with the disparity in pay which already exists between someone working in a commercial law firm and someone researching, publishing and teaching, it presents a real risk to the number and quality of academics our universities produce.

“In effect, people will be paying more to qualify for a profession where they will be paid less.”

New Zealand Medical Students’ Association President Liz Carr says the changes are disappointing and “don’t make any sense”.

“It seems like such a badly planned idea. This is a sure way to lose students. We are trying to train and retain young doctors in New Zealand, and the loan scheme was one of the ways to help this.

“If students have to fund their own studies, then graduate students might seriously consider looking at studying in Australian post-graduate medical schools.

“Completing a degree prior to entering medical school is a common and encouraged way of entering medical school.

“If the government is trying to discourage postgraduate students from moving into medicine, then this is the perfect way to do it.”

Joyce says if students use their additional postgraduate 1 EFTS for honours study, then “there is no additional entitlement for additional postgraduate borrowing other than doctoral study”.

When questioned how the 7 EFTS entitlement was decided, Joyce’s said the value is “similar to the Australian Student Learning Entitlement (ASLE) which allows an equivalent of 7 years of full-time study with Commonwealth support”.


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Comments (9)

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  1. Mike says:

    Have I got this straight? If I want to do postgrad I have to choose between Masters and Honours but I can’t do both unless I’m rich?

  2. steve says:

    In terms of a three year degree and honours, only if you study full time and fail a good deal of your papers before resitting and passing them.

  3. Mike says:

    But honours is postgrad study…….

  4. Deco says:

    The lifetime limit (from 2010 study) is 7 EFTS which can be “spent” on anything. So if you manage to finish your degree and your honours/Masters within that 7 EFTS you are sweet. If you need more than 7 EFTS, then you have 1 more for postgrad and another 3 for Doctoral study.

  5. smackdown says:

    so what does this mean for my post grad diploma in fun studies

  6. Jono says:

    “A lifetime limit on access to the Student Loan Scheme was introduced in Budget 2010. The limit for undergraduate study is 7 EFTS (Equivalent Full Time Student)”

    This is wrong.

    The 7 EFTS are for whatever you want.

    You can even the Cabinet paper describing the change at:


  7. steve says:

    “A full-time student studies between 0.8 and 1.4 EFTS a year”

    Really? I`d like to see comment from someone who studies 1.4 EFTS in a year. Even if they did, they`d take 5 years to run out of EFTS. At 0.8 EFTs ( what most study) it is nearly 9 years.

  8. Shitkicker McGee says:

    EFTS is for Fun

  9. Ben says:

    Yet more short-sighted policy from a short-sighted government.

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