More tertiary students last year borrowed more than ever before from the student loan scheme, official figures show.
Nearly 45.6% of all students borrowed from the scheme and their average for the year was $7300, according to Statistics New Zealand figures released on Friday.
It says the average loan last year was 4.4% or $310 higher than in 2009 - the biggest annual increase since the loan scheme began in 1992 - and blames increased fees, particularly at universities, for the rise.
Statistics New Zealand says the uptake of student allowances also rose last year - by 16.5% to reach 93,942 students.
Meanwhile, students who entered the workforce last year found slim pickings.
Statistics New Zealand says because of the recession, their average income was 4.5% lower than that of students who started work in 2009.