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Student Loans and Allowances: 2012
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  04 December 2013

The information in this release covers students who accessed the student support system (ie the Student Loan Scheme and the Student Allowances Scheme) while participating in tertiary education.

See the definitions section for more details.

Diagram, Student loan borrowers and allowance recipients, for those enrolled in 2012.

Student Loan Scheme

Uptake of student loans decreases in 2012

The number of students taking out a student loan decreased 3.0 percent in 2012, leading to a decrease in the proportion of tertiary students using the Student Loan Scheme. This is the first year since the introduction of interest-free student loans that the proportion has not increased.

The number of students enrolled in tertiary study continued to decrease, down 2.0 percent from 2011.

There were fewer borrowers aged 55 to 59 (down 16.6 percent) and 60 years and over (down 32.8 percent). This decrease occurred before a rule change to borrowing for living costs and course-related costs. From 1 January 2013, borrowers aged 55 and over were eligible to borrow for course fees only.

Ethnic groups with the largest falls in borrower numbers, relative to other groups, were:

  • other ethnicity (down 9.3 percent)
  • Asian (down 6.0 percent)
  • Māori (down 5.4 percent).

Average amount borrowed in a year continues to get bigger

The Student Loan Scheme has three components: course fees, course-related costs, and living costs. The average total amount borrowed in a year continued to increase in 2012, up 2.5 percent to $7,820. Course fees contributed the most to this increase.

Since 2005, the average amount borrowed has increased every year.

Graph, Average amount borrowed by student loan borrowers, by loan component, 2000 to 2012.

Student Allowances Scheme

Number of student allowance recipients decreases

The Student Allowances Scheme provides financial support to students that does not need to be repaid. Eligibility to receive a student allowance is determined by a number of financial factors, such as age and parental income.

In 2012, compared with 2011:

  • the number of students who received a student allowance decreased 2.1 percent, to 94,953
  • the proportion of students who received a student allowance remained unchanged: 22.5 percent.

This is the first year since 2005 that the proportion of students receiving an allowance has not increased, which could reflect a number of changes in eligibility criteria that took effect in the years leading up to and including 2012. See StudyLink for more information.

Graph, Student allowance recipients and proportion of students receiving an allowance, 2000 to 2012.

For more detailed data, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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