2 Dec 2009

Doubling in over-60s' student loan debt

6:07 pm on 2 December 2009

The latest figures show more people are borrowing money through the student loan scheme.

Of all students enrolled in 2008, 37.5% used money from the scheme, an increase of almost 2.8% on the previous year.

Statistics New Zealand has also reported an increase in the amount students owe by the time they complete their studies.

For students finishing their study in 2007, the average leaving debt rose by $360 to almost $15,000.

The number of students over the age of 60 who owed money at the end of studying more than doubled from just above 960 in 2006 to 2136 in 2007.

Their average debt on leaving also ballooned by 60% to hit $22,000 in the same year.

Tertiary study necessary - Greypower

Greypower has expressed amazement at a doubling in the number of mature students leaving university with debt.

Greypower's education spokesperson, Judy Lamont, says tertiary study has become more of a necessity for older people.

"Younger people in most cases do get the jobs becuase they're so well up on being able to use all the modern equipment.

She says people aged over 50 have difficulty getting work.

"Learning for these age group people is absolutely necessary, it's not just a thing they want to do."