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Student loan scheme changes (again)

Laura McQuillan



“We’re starving, but thank God student loans are interest free” – students
A student loan scheme bill passed last week will reduce the burden of debt for some borrowers and “simplifies the administration” of the scheme, claim Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen and Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.
In a release, the ministers said: “The changes bring the student loan scheme rules into line with the aims of interest-free loans, one of which is to reduce barriers to the return of skilled New Zealanders.”
The changes include:

A ‘repayment holiday’ for up to three years for borrowers overseas. Borrowers will not have to make repayments but their loans will still attract interest.
Extension of interest-free loans to full-time undergraduates studying overseas
Interest-free loans for borrowers overseas working in certain areas of volunteer or charitable work
A reduction of the late-payment penalty from 2% to 1.5% per month

Data-matching between Inland Revenue and the New Zealand Customs Service to determine whether a borrower is eligible for an interest-free loan, is based in New Zealand or overseas, and is resident or non-resident
Theses changes will take place on April 1.