New Zealand may impose a two-year block on student loans for fresh migrants

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Wellington, April 19(ANI): New Zealand Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has said his Government is planning to implement a two-year stand-down period before new permanent residents can borrow from the Government to fund tertiary studies here.

"You're allowed to borrow for a student loan the moment you arrive, and that creates some interesting incentives for people to sign up to tertiary institutions where perhaps they're not as committed to the country, or not committed to tertiary education as perhaps others would be," Joyce said.

He, however, said the proposed two-year delay would not affect fee-paying international students.

New Zealand is also considering limiting the period undergraduate students can access interest-free student loans, possibly to six or seven years, saving around 10 million dollars to 20 million dollars a year, the New Zealand Herald reports.

The Labour Party's tertiary education spokeswoman, Maryan Street, expressed concern over another proposal outlined by Joyce to remove the current fee cap on expensive university courses, such as medicine. "That is a disincentive for people to enrol in those more expensive courses and they are typically medicine, dentistry, and other science programmes. Those are exactly the sorts of skills we are going to require as we go forward in New Zealand." Street said

Meanwhile, Pene Delaney, Co-President of New Zealand Union of Students' Associations, said: "The proposal needed to take into consideration smaller countries, including the Pacific Island states that don't possess the tertiary infrastructure to support such studies." (ANI)

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