Cutting financial advice for students doesn’t add up

Schools and taxpayers will pick up the costs of StudyLink’s decision to cut its Sussed financial literacy seminar for secondary students, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This seminar was cut last year despite a concerted campaign by the Careers and Transition Education Association to keep it going. The Association even employed lawyer Mai Chen to take the matter up with the Government.

“Sussed provided invaluable information for students about how to handle their finances after they leave school. It taught them how to budget for essentials such as accommodation and the realities of taking out student loans for tertiary study.

“Despite StudyLink putting the information on its website, careers advisers say they will now have to provide this advice because few students will access it online.

“Students borrow millions of dollars in loans every year which they will often spend decades paying back. It is crucial for their futures – and for taxpayers – that they understand the ramifications of their borrowing.

“Education is about more than teaching kids how to read and write. It should prepare students for life after school. A recent survey found 93 per cent of New Zealanders want compulsory money management skills taught in all schools.

“This is another short-sighted decision from a government agency ordered to cut costs.

“Schools will have to pick up the costs of losing the Sussed seminar and taxpayers will be the ultimate losers when students take out loans they will spend years struggling to repay,” Chris Hipkins says.