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Fewer students, but loan debt gets bigger

Dec 19th, 2008 | By | Category: Latest News, News

TERTIARY students are borrowing more money and have more debt when they finish study, latest statistics show.

The number of students with loans increased by 4% in 2007, despite a slight drop in enrolments, says Statistics New Zealand.

Those receiving a student allowance rose for the second year in a row by 5% to reach 61,230 in 2007.

Some 35% of all students received financial assistance through the student loan scheme.

Males who finished study in 2006 had an average leaving debt of $15,370, 9% higher than the average of $14,090 for females.

For those that attended university, the average leaving debt was $20,180, 38% higher than the average for student attending all types of provider.

There were 173,766 borrowers in 2007 (60% female and 40% male), up from 167,400 the year before.

For every year from 1995, there have been more female than male borrowers, and males borrowed 10% more on average in 2007.

“I’ve lost count of how much I owe,” says one Whitireia student.

“I try not to think of it. It’s somewhere up around $50,000. It will take years to pay off. It’s unlikely that will happen before I retire.”

Tertiary student numbers dropped 1.5% to about 484,000 last year, according to Ministry of Education figures, which also show the number of international students declined for the third consecutive year to 39,900 enrolments.

Society and culture was the most common field of study in 2007 at 23%, closely followed by management and commerce at 21% of full-time students.

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is a multi-media journalist and Whitireia graduate specialising in video, audio, web 2.0, technology, photography, editing and Photoshop. After graduating from Whitireia, and a brief stint in teaching for the school, he moved on to working for
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