24 Mar 2009

Incentive for faster repayment of student loans

6:46 am on 24 March 2009

The Government is offering a financial incentive to borrowers who can make extra repayments on their student loans.

It was the National Party's election policy that voluntary repayments of $500 or more would attract a 10% bonus.

For example, $500 above the compulsory repayment schedule would attract a $50 bonus from the Government.

Education Minister Anne Tolley confirmed the policy is to go ahead, saying it is being widened to include former students living overseas.

Ms Tolley says it is a significant step to encourage student loan repayments and reduce repayment times.

Extra payments made from April will qualify for the bonus scheme.

Union of Students' Associations co-president Jordan King doubts the policy will be effective in encouraging more repayments, as he says graduates are already struggling to cover basic living costs.

He is calling on the Government to focus on easing fees and opening access to allowances, so students do not have huge debt burdens to service in the first place.