NZUSA loves flogging dead horses

NZUSA loves flogging dead horses

Critic a little turned on

The New Zealand Union of Students Associations (NZUSA) has realised students are incurring debt in order to study, and have issued a press release to warn everyone about the situation, a mere 20 years after the student loan scheme was launched.

In a press release dated March 6 2012, NZUSA revealed concerns about the multi-billion dollar debt students have racked up over the course of the scheme, and the effects this debt mountain is having on New Zealand’s university graduates, leading with the shocking revelation that many students are “faced with accruing significant debt in order to learn.”

NZUSA President Pete Hodkinson believes that the current loan scheme is dangerous to New Zealand’s economy, and unfair on students. “No other group faces an expectation that they borrow to meet basic living costs while they are not fully in paid work.”

Critic spoke to Hodkinson, who advised new students to “choose your course carefully, as jumping between courses can be costly.” Hodkinson further pleaded for students “to think about the employment market for the chosen field they are wanting to go into.” Perhaps speaking from past experience?

He added that before students entered tertiary education, “it is important they think about the amount of debt they want to accrue and how they might manage that pretention.” Efforts to understand what he meant by pretention were unsuccessful.

In a marked divergence from reality, the NZUSA media release also suggested that the student allowance should be granted to all students. Whilst this would be hugely beneficial to some students, it seems a pipedream considering the already tight financial situation of the current Government. That is, of course, unless the NZUSA is able to fund the extra allowances themselves, perhaps through an incredibly successful sausage sizzle.

The press release also implied that students have a right to free education, despite evidence existing that shows that a university degree confers a huge lifetime earnings advantage for graduates (even Tourism graduates), which is worth getting in debt for.

As Critic went to print the total student debt ticker on the NZUSA website, a feature we found almost as exciting as watching the jackpot at the Bog’s pokies, had just reached $12,183,241,932.00.
This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2012.
Posted 6:37pm Sunday 11th March 2012 by Bella Macdonald.