TVNZ reported last night that approximately 9000 students would miss out on student loans because of a new government policy that states that students who failed half their courses would not get loans.
The policy, announced in May, has surprised many students, who did not realise that it would apply to grades from 2009 as well as this year – a year before the policy was announced.
The Labour Party’s tertiary education spokesman Grant Robertson told TVNZ the policy is unfair.
“People who enrolled in 2009 enrolled under a set of rules where they weren’t aware that it was going to affect their eligibility for student loans if they didn’t pass.”
One of New Zealand’s largest polytechnics, Otago Polytechnic, said they had only just found out about the change a few weeks ago.
Otago Polytechnic’s chief executive Phil Ker said 20 percent of the polytechnic’s students would not be eligible for loans next year under the new scheme.
“If only 5% choose not to study, that will be financially disastrous for us,” Mr Ker said.
But tertiary education minister Steven Joyce said the government had been very clear and open about the change in student loan access back in May.
“I struggle with the fact that the chief executive of one of our larger polytechnics has not taken the time to read the changes that are there, so that’s over to him, but they were clearly announced at the time,” he said.