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Student loan changes mean no funding for some - report

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce

Wellington, July 12 NZPA - 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 he or she may not have any access to funding for the 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.

Mr Joyce's office said there were some inaccuracies in the report and made these points:

* Generally, most conjoint degrees take less than 5 EFTS to complete. An additional year for honours would take the student to 6 EFTS. However, if a masters study took them over the 7 EFTS limit, they would be given an additional one EFTS to finish their degree;

* Most students who complete a medical degree at Otago University will do 1 EFTS Health Sciences First year and then 5 EFTS for the remainder of the medical degree -- a total of 6 EFTS.

* A student who completes their degree and honours degree before going over their 7 EFTS limit will have one additional year of entitlement for masters study that takes them over the 7 EFTS limit.

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