The national student union NZUSA is putting its full weight behind the growing calls by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association, political parties, youth wings and professional associations for the Government to immediately reinstate access to the loans system for medical students.
National President Rory McCourt says the Government’s 2011 introduction of a seven-year cap on what all students could borrow for fees was poorly targeted and could lead to a crisis in the health workforce within a few short years.
“It makes zero sense to block hard-working, aspirational students who want to save lives from being able to borrow what they need to finish their studies.”
“If we’re going to have user-pays education and force students to borrow, we might as well make sure they can borrow enough and for long enough."
“We 100% support medical students' right to finish their studies. It’s the right thing to do for our students and the right thing to do for our health system.”
The union is calling for the introduction of exceptions to loans and allowance limits for courses like medicine.
“We think it’s time for the introduction of exceptions within a National Importance category. The category would include qualifications where graduates are in high demand or their study is otherwise necessary for the advancement of New Zealand’s society and economy.”
NZUSA National President Rory McCourt said the wide-ranging and ideologically disparate support for the move to reinstate access should be a wake-up call for the Government.
“The Government stuffed this one up. It’s time to do what’s right and back our hard-working medical students, on that we agree with the Young Nats.” says McCourt.