The Government has been embarrassed into a back-down over its short-sighted and unfair student loan cap, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Steven Joyce appears to have had a road to Damascus rethink on the detrimental effects his seven year study cap on student loans has had on post-grads, and pushed it out another year.
“I am delighted for the students.
“However it comes on the same day I received a 21,000 signature petition from medical students urging the Government to lift the restriction, and just a few months after he told me he was not considering any exemptions.
“He went on to say: The life-time limit encourages students to complete their qualification as quickly as possible in order to minimise the costs of tertiary study for both themselves and the Government. I consider that 7 EFTS is flexible enough to cover most students who do double degrees and the longest undergraduate courses.
“The cap, which prevents doctors, dentists and other professionals from specialising, has been in place since 2012. Mr Come-lately-Joyce has had more than sufficient time to initiate changes.
“He has been warned numerous times about the negative impact the policy would have on students whose future careers require extended study periods and withheld advice he’s received on it.
“An extra year is a sop, and he knows it.
“This U-turn is nothing more than a bit of window-dressing by an under-pressure Steven Joyce to tweak a policy he was adamant didn’t need tweaking.
“Labour is working on a policy that will redress this issue for many more students,” Annette King says.