29 Oct 2010

Student loans exceed $11 billion

12:21 pm on 29 October 2010

The amount of money owed to the Government's student loan scheme has exceeded $11 billion for the first time.

The scheme's annual report for the year to the end of June says 587,500 people now have student loans.

The report says about 200,000 people borrowed $1.5 billion from the scheme in the last financial year.

Repayments totalled $750 million, including $50 million which qualified for the new 10% bonus for voluntary repayments of more than $500.

Union of Students Associations president David Do says the figures show the value of charging zero interest on the loans, as repayments are up on last year, helping more New Zealanders get debt-free faster.

The report says the average loan balance was $16,700.

Half of those with loans were not obliged to repay any money last year, but those people repaid $65 million anyway, or 12% of the total repayments in the 2008/2009 year.