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More student loans and allowances in 2009
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  23 December 2010

Student Loans and Allowances: 2009  –  Media Release

The number of people borrowing through the student loan scheme increased by 20,211 (up 11.3 percent) to 198,723 in 2009, the largest annual increase in the number of borrowers since the beginning of the scheme, Statistics New Zealand said today. The number of tertiary students receiving a student allowance also grew by 25.4 percent, to reach 80,703 in 2009.

The number of borrowers increased in 2009 because more students chose to use the student loan scheme (42.4 percent of all students, up from 38.8 percent in 2008), including 61,269 students borrowing for the first time. This is the largest number of new borrowers in a given year since the scheme began. These figures follow a rise in enrolments in 2009, and reflect the greater demand for tertiary education resulting from the recession.

First year earnings for those leaving study in 2008 fell for the first time since 1998, down 2.5 percent compared with leavers in the previous year. This decrease in income reflects the impact of the recession on earnings in the labour market, and was most significant for students aged 24 years or less (down 7.1 percent) and for males (down 4.5 percent compared with a 0.8 percent decrease for females).

This is the first student loans and allowances release to include completion statistics, and shows that completing a qualification markedly increases post-study earnings and wage growth, particularly at degree level. Of students who studied at bachelor level and left study in 2004, those who completed their degree earned an average 17.9 percent more in 2009 than those who did not complete ($48,410 compared with $41,060, respectively).

“With the recession, we’ve seen the growth in tertiary enrolments along with an increase in the number of students choosing to use the loan scheme flowing through to increasing demand for student loans and allowances,” employment and education statistics project manager Guido Stark said. “The recession has also affected students entering the workforce in 2009, with average first year earnings falling for the first time since the Asian crisis and most noticeably affecting males and young people leaving study. However, the good news is that completing a degree leads to higher average earnings and wage growth."

Of those who completed a qualification (at any level), males earned an average 21.3 percent more than females in 2009, after leaving study in 2004 ($46,740 for males compared with $38,530 for females). This difference was 10.5 percent in their first year of earning.

Geoff Bascand 23 December 2010
Government Statistician END
For media enquiries contact:
Guido Stark – Statistics New Zealand
Wellington: (04) 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz 
For further information:
Roger Smyth – Ministry of Education
Manager, Tertiary Sector Performance and Reporting, ph: 021 120 7757
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