Changes mean no final year loans for some students

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce is reportedly considering policy changes to resolve the situation. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce is reportedly considering policy changes to resolve the situation. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Some students won't get student loans for their final years under the changed student loan scheme.

Victoria University student magazine Salient reported today that Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said policy changes could be considered to fix the problem.

Changes to the scheme this year meant students who completed a double degree and honours would need to fund any masters study themselves but may then be able to access loans for doctorate study.

Students who completed a degree prior to entering medical school would have to fund their last years without a student loan.

A lifetime limit on access to the student loan scheme was introduced in Budget 2010. The limit for undergraduate study is 7 EFTS (Equivalent Full Time Student), with a further 1 EFTS allowed for postgraduate study and 3 EFTS for doctoral study. A full-time student studies between 0.8 and 1.4 EFTS a year.

A student completing a double degree (for example law and arts) needs about 6 EFTS to complete their studies. If the student wanted to do honours and masters, the current policy meant that a student may not have any access to funding for their masters.

Mr Joyce said there were no exemptions on the limit.

"However, if some programmes of study (such as medicine) turn out to be disproportionately affected by this policy, consideration could be given as to whether additional EFTS should be allocated to those programmes."

The article said the changes could see students go overseas for travel or discourage aiming for the higher qualifications.

- NZPA

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