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Student loan borrowers and debt increase
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  02 December 2009

Student Loans and Allowances: 2008  –  Media Release

The number of students borrowing through the student loan scheme, and the amount they owe upon leaving study, have increased, Statistics New Zealand said today. New statistics released today show that 37.5 percent of all students enrolled borrowed in 2008, an increase from 34.7 percent in 2007. This increase occurred while the number of students enrolled decreased 4.8 percent. For students who left study in 2007, their average leaving debt was $14,980, up 2.5 percent from $14,620 in 2006. Meanwhile, students who left study in 2007 received no increase in average income one year post-study compared with students who left in 2006 ($30,200 for both 2006 and 2007 leavers), the first year since 1998 that no increase has occurred between groups of students leaving study in consecutive years.

The majority of students who borrowed in 2008 were aged 24 years and under (63.1 percent). Students aged 20–24 had the second highest 2007 leaving debt ($19,110), while those aged less than 20 had the lowest average leaving debt ($8,440). Compared with their counterparts in 2006, leavers in 2007 who were aged less than 20, and those who were 20–24, had a decrease in average income one year after leaving study (from $19,870 to $19,550 for leavers aged less than 20 and from $30,140 to $29,870 for leavers aged 20–24).

Of students aged 60 years and over (60+), those who left study with student loan debt more than doubled in 2007 (2,136) compared with 2006 (960), although they made up only 2.5 percent of all leavers with debt in 2007. The number of students aged 60+ borrowing in a year peaked in 2006 at 3,411, declining to 2,640 by 2008. The average debt of leavers aged 60+ in 2007 increased 60.3 percent, from $13,720 in 2006 to $22,000 in 2007. They also received less income on average one year after leaving study ($16,170) compared with 2006 leavers aged 60+ ($18,470). Leavers aged 60+ in 2003 were the only age group to have their student loan debt rise by 2008 (an average14.2 percent more).

Geoff Bascand

2 December 2009
Government Statistician


For media enquiries contact:
Guido Stark – Statistics New Zealand
Wellington: (04) 931 4600
For further information:
Roger Smyth – Ministry of Education
Manager, Tertiary Sector Performance and Reporting
Mob no: (021) 120 7757
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