We need to talk about debt
NZUSA Press Release - Wednesday 2 March 2016
On Wednesday the 2nd of March at 12 noon we are commemorating the student loan scheme hitting $15billion. People will be talking about the impact their own debt will have (or has had) on their future.
"$15b debt day is about acknowledging the many faces of debt and the burden it imposes upon society. If we don't tackle student debt now it will cripple us for the future. 75% of students think their debt will affect their retirement savings, 70% don't see themselves owning a house, 66% say their debt means they don't want to pursue higher study and 34% say their debt will affect their decision to have children" says NZUSA President Linsey Higgins.
"If these issues are left unchecked we will be railroaded into a society where people are increasingly dependent on the state in their old age, with fewer people to support their increasing need" says Ms Higgins.
"Debt isn't an issue just affecting University students over their three year degree. It also affects polytech students, privately trained students, graduates, academics, businesspeople, doctors, builders and beauticians. Student debt is held by the young and old and is a problem that last long after they enter the workforce."
"Young people face an increasing need to become educated at a higher level. Older people are facing increasingly precarious work and are being pressured to upskill. Tertiary education is no longer the educational extra for the wealthy and academically inclined."
"Student debt costs people in real terms, from the Pasifika student who feels obligated to contribute back to their community through an important but low-paid job back home but can't, to the employer wasting hours searching for a new employee but can't find anyone with the right skills, because no one wants to get into debt to get these skills."
"There's something inherently wrong in our society when someone celebrates how 'lucky' they are that their family is identified as poor as it means they can get a student allowance and be burdened with less debt."
"We must deal with student debt by addressing the cause. In the 1870's as a country, we saw the need to make primary education free, in the 1940's we saw the need to make secondary education free. Today we don't even blink at free primary and secondary education and take them as the norm, however the same rhetoric about free education privileging the elite was rife then as it is now. Now it's another 70 years later, isn't it time we started talking about the necessity of free tertiary education? Is it right that students are the only group in society who are forced to borrow money to live week-to-week?"
"New Zealanders shouldn't be forced to take on a debt sentence to get ahead in life. Debt is corrosive, toxic and it's kneecapping students before they even get started."
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