Student loan borrowing limit in long programmes to be extended

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

The Coalition Government will extend the current student loan borrowing limit for those students in long undergraduate programmes, such as medicine, from the start of 2019, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

Currently, following a decision by the previous Government, students can borrow through the Student Loan Scheme only for up to seven equivalent full-time student (EFTS) of study, with a few limited exceptions, Mr Hipkins said.

Some students reach the limit before they have completed their studies and this puts up financial barriers to them completing their qualifications.

“Students in long undergraduate programmes are affected by the limits on borrowing disproportionately compared with students in other programmes,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We had planned to remove this unfair barrier next year.

“But after listening to feedback, and in keeping with our desire to reduce financial barriers to higher education and skills training, the Government has decided that all students in long undergraduate programmes will be eligible to borrow through the loan scheme for up to a maximum ten EFTS of study from 1 January 2019.

“Long undergraduate programmes are single undergraduate qualifications of five EFTS or more in medicine, dentistry, optometry or veterinary science.

“It is anticipated that around 100 people in 2019 will potentially benefit from this policy change, rising to around 130 people in 2022, and cost $11.7 million in operating spending over the next five financial years, and have an $18.1 million impact on the capital budget.

Funding for this initiative will be from within Crown baselines and does not require any new appropriation.