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Student Loans and Allowances: 2010
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  02 December 2011
Definitions

About the Student Loans and Allowances release

This release includes official statistics on:

  • borrowing in a year
  • leaving debt
  • allowance received in a year
  • repayments
  • income after leaving study
  • borrowers who have repaid their loan in full
  • new borrowers.

Statistics New Zealand’s integrated data on student loans and allowances links educational information from the Ministry of Education with borrowing and allowance information from the Ministry of Social Development (StudyLink), and income and repayments information from Inland Revenue. This data allows the educational characteristics of student loan borrowers and student allowance recipients to be linked with the details of their loans, allowances, and income.

Each year Statistics NZ links new data that is supplied annually from the Ministry of Eduction, StudyLink and Inland Revenue to take advantage of revisions, updates, and improvements in data quality. This means that all the data in previous releases has been revised. 

Student loan: Funding in which a student can borrow to help pay for course fees, course-related costs, and living costs. They are expected to repay the amount borrowed when they earn over the income threshold. To qualify for a student loan, certain criteria must be met.

Student allowance: Weekly payment to help students with living expenses while studying. This payment does not need to be paid back, however there are strict criteria to be met (such as parental and personal income thresholds) for a student to qualify for an allowance.

For details on these criteria, see the StudyLink website.

The borrowing and debt refered to in this release relates only to borrowing under the student loan scheme. It does not include bank overdrafts, personal bank loans, loans from parents and family, credit card debt, or hire purchases.

More definitions

Economic variables

Amount borrowed: the amount borrowed from the Student Loans Scheme by a student in a particular calendar year (not the total amount borrowed by the student over all years of study).

Amount received: the amount received as student allowance by a student in a calendar year (not the total amount received by the student over all years of study). This does not need to be paid back.

Leaving debt: the total debt still owing in March following the last year of study, including any repayment the student may have made during study. This includes those who had $0 debt on leaving. For example, if a student last studied in 2001, their leaving debt is their debt in March of 2002. This data will always be a year behind the release date. For example, in the 2010 dataset on student loans and allowances, leaving debt data is only available for those who left study up to 2009 and did not return the following year.

Debt five years post-study: the total debt still owing in March five years after the last year of study, including any repayment made up to this time. This includes those who had $0 debt five years post-study. For example, for those who last studied in 2005, their debt five years post-study is their debt remaining in March 2011.

Income one year post-study: the taxable income earned in the tax year after leaving study. This excludes those with $0 income. For example, for those students who left study in 2005, their one year post-study income is that in the 2006/07 tax year.

Income five years post-study: the taxable income earned in the tax year five years after leaving study. This excludes those with $0 income. For example, for those students who left study in 2005, their five-year post study income is in the 2010/11 tax year.

New borrower: the number of students using the student loan scheme for the first time. Counts of new borrowers are based on the first year of borrowing recorded on the Student Loan Accounts Manager, Ministry of Social Development, or Inland Revenue system.

Demographic characteristics

Age group: the person's age at 1 July in the year they left study.

Ethnic group: data for the years before 2000 are sourced from the Ministry of Education, and assign each individual to one ethnic group only. For those who identified with more than one ethnic group this allocation was based on the following order of priority: Māori, Pacific peoples, Asian, other, European. For example, if a student loan borrower identified as both Samoan and European, then they were assigned to the Pacific peoples ethnic group.

Subsequently, unprioritised ethnicity data began to become available, from StudyLink (from 2000 onwards) and the Ministry of Education (from 2001 onwards), and where available this unprioritised ethnicity data has been used. The data from both sources may include up to three ethnicities for each individual, meaning that figures relating to 2000 may reflect identification with as many as three different ethnic groups per student, and those from 2001 as many as six different ethnic groups per student.

From 2001 onwards, unprioritised ethnicity data is available for nearly all borrowers. In a small number of cases, where unprioritised ethnicity data is not available, the older prioritised MoE ethnicity data has been used. Tables spanning the 1997–2010 period reflect a combination of prioritised and unprioritised ethnicity data and may not be directly comparable between years.

From 2007 onwards, the more detailed Ethnicity New Zealand Standard Classification 2005 has been used. Due to the nature of the administrative data collected, the ‘Middle Eastern/Latin American/African’ ethnicity group is only available from 2007. Before 2007, this group is included in the ‘other’ category.

Leaving cohort: the year of leaving is determined by the last year an enrolment record is available. Given that some students may return after taking a break from study, leaving cohorts for more recent years may overstate the number of leavers.

Study-related variables

Leaving year: the last year of study for a student, which does not distinguish those who completed their qualification from those who did not. For example, if a student last studied in 2001, then the student is considered to have left study in 2001 and their leaving year is 2001. Completion status, field of study, level, and provider type during the student's last year of study were assigned to their debt, income, and repayment.

Completion status: a student’s completion status is determined by whether they have had a qualification awarded within two years of leaving study at the same or higher level of study as that studied in their final year.

Where a student has a ‘completed’ status, the level of study, field of study, and provider type relate to the qualification completed. Where a student has a status of ‘not completed’, the level of study, field of study, and provider type relate to the highest level of study in their final year.

Where a student studied towards or completed more than one qualification at the highest level of study in their final year, information about both is included.

Graduate: for the purposes of this release, a graduate is a student who has left study and has a status of ‘completed’. This differs from a leaver, which is any student who has left study (no distinction is made between those who completed their qualification and those who did not).

Level of study: the qualification(s) for which the student was enrolled. Unless specified, this does not distinguish those who completed their qualification from those who did not. A student can be enrolled in more than one level of study; therefore they can be counted in more than one level in the table. Where this relates to their final year of study, only their highest level of study is used.

Field of study: the New Zealand Standard Classification of Education of the field(s) of study, or subject of a programme of study, in which the student was enrolled. A student can be enrolled in more than one field of study; therefore they can be counted in more than one field in the table. Field of study includes all levels of study, and unless specified does not distinguish those who completed their qualification from those who did not. Where this relates to the final year of study, only the fields of study associated with the highest level studied at in the final year is used.

Provider type: the type of education provider at which the student was enrolled. A student can be enrolled in more than one provider type; therefore they can be counted in more than one provider type in the table. Unless specified this does not distinguish those who completed their qualification from those who did not. Where this relates to the final year of study, only the provider type associated with the highest level studied at in the final year is used.

Definitions of individual provider types are outlined below.

University: a public tertiary education institution that is primarily concerned with advanced learning and knowledge, research, and teaching to a postgraduate level.

Institute of technology and polytechnics (ITPs): a public tertiary institution that is characterised by a wide diversity of vocational and professional programmes.

College of education: a tertiary education institution that provides training and research, mostly related to early childhood, compulsory, and post-compulsory education. From January 2007, the last two remaining colleges of education merged with local universities.

Wānanga: a public tertiary institution that provides programmes with an emphasis on the application of knowledge regarding āhuatanga Māori (Māori traditions) according to tikanga Māori (Māori custom).

Other tertiary education providers (OTEPs): organisations that deliver programmes of tertiary education or in support of tertiary education of some national significance, and are recognised by the Minister of Education under section 321 of the Education Act 1989. In this release, OTEPS have been included with private training establishments.

Private training establishments (PTEs): defined in the Education Act 1989 as "an establishment, other than a public tertiary education institution, that provides post-school education or vocational training". PTEs are private organisations providing tertiary education or training that is registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. This includes not only privately owned providers, but also those operated by iwi, trusts, and other organisations; many companies and government training establishments register their staff training operations as training establishments.

Loan components

Course fees: students can borrow the full amount of the compulsory fees charged for tuition by public and private tertiary education providers. These are direct-credited to the borrower's chosen tertiary education provider.

Course-related costs: students can borrow up to $1,000 each year per loan account for additional expenses associated with tertiary study that are not compulsory. These can include costs such as equipment, textbooks and field trips.

Living costs: full-time students are eligible for weekly living costs for each week of the course, less any student  allowance. Students nominate the amount they wish to draw each week up to the maximum entitlement ($160.24 per week for the 2009/10 tax year. This is adjusted each year to account for inflation).

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