Fewer Kiwis entering tertiary education

Posted By TEU on Jan 26, 2017 |

Tertiary Update Vol 20 No 2

The number of domestic students enrolled in tertiary education is declining at the same time as loans get bigger and graduates take longer to pay back the money they owe, according to the latest Student Loan Scheme Annual Report.

Enrolments in tertiary education have been in steady decline since 2010, when numbers peaked at over 254,000 equivalent full-time students. By 2015 the number had fallen to 233,000, equivalent to 9.8 percent of the population aged over 15 years, compared to 14 percent in 2005.

The largest decline in student numbers has been in foundation courses and level 3 to 7 certificates and diplomas. Enrolments in bachelor-level degrees or post-graduate study are comparatively stable.

According to the report, the median loan balance for the average student has increased by 37 percent, from $10,833 in 2008 to $14,904 in 2016.

“Burdening individuals with huge debts is bound to be a factor in declining enrolments. There are Kiwis now missing out on life-long learning opportunities and that’s bad news for everyone,” said Sandra Grey, TEU National President.

More than 90 percent of students are now borrowing to meet the cost of their fees, the report said. On average, each student borrowed $8,888 in 2015, an increase of 3.5 percent on the previous year. Of all the money borrowed in 2015, 64 percent was used to pay for fees, with 26.1 percent being used to cover living costs.

Loans are also taking longer to clear, with the average time taken to pay off student debt increasing from just over six years, to eight and a half.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Minimum wage increase not enough
  2. Aotearoa Tertiary Institute shut down
  3. Expansion of He Toki Apprenticeship Trust
  4. Former NTEU national president passes away

Other news

Unaffordable rents are forcing some students to abandon their studies, according to a recent report in the Bay of Plenty Times – Bay of Plenty Times

NZEI Te Riu Roa’s new President, Lynda Stuart, has started her two-year term leading the New Zealand Educational Institute – NZEI

Parents of a child born in 2017 can expect to pay almost $40,000 for their education, according to a report published by the Australian Scholarships Group Education Programs New Zealand – NZ Herald

Canterbury University has published a master plan for campus development for the next 30 years – NZ Herald

Confidence that a $206 million research centre at Lincoln University will be completed has declined, according to a Treasury report – Stuff

Whitireia Polytechnic students in Porirua will have to wait until March for their library to re-open – Dominion Post

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