To: Minister of Education

Let Us Finish! Remove student loan cap for future doctors

Today (2 July 2018) the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has announced the limit on student-loan borrowing will be lifted to 10EFTS!

Let Us Finish! Remove student loan cap for future doctors

Dear Hon. Chris Hipkins,

Our healthcare system desperately needs doctors, yet many postgraduate medical students are being prevented from completing their degrees due to the government’s 8-year lifetime limit on student loans. It was Labour, Greens and NZ First party policy to address the EFTS cap and we would like to remind the government of these commitments

Every student affected by the 8EFTS cap risks one fewer doctor in our communities. By enforcing this cap, the government is undercutting their own investment in our training as well as undermining the invaluable work carried out by these students in previous studies. We simply want to be able to finish our studies and begin working in our communities as doctors - and we need student loan to do that.

We, the undersigned, urge you as Minister of Education to remove the current student loan cap for medical and extended professional programmes.

Let Us Finish!

Why is this important?

UPDATE:

Prior to the 2017 Election, we secured promises from the Labour, New Zealand First, Greens, and ACT parties, that they intended to lift the cap if elected.

We now have that new government, with Hon Chris Hipkins as Minister of Education. However, despite these assurances, unfortunately removal of the EFTS cap was not included in Budget 2018. The government has failed to live up to these expectations and we intend to hold them accountable.

Hon Chris Hipkins has suggested that lifting the cap is still an intention for the government, but we need to show him that this is URGENT.

We are already aware of students having to go to extreme measures, such as fundraising, to pay their fees. The longer the government waits, the more future-doctors we risk losing.

Sign our petition to help us help others!

Say YES to letting us finish!
#LetUsFinish

BACKGROUND:
In 2017, NZMSA and Te Oranga conducted a survey of New Zealand medical students and identified at least 142 students affected by this cap - many of whom may be prevented from finishing their degrees. Medical degrees are at least six years long, making them the longest programme in New Zealand. Each year, approximately 30% of medical entrants are selected from a pool of applicants who have already completed a previous degree.

Most of these graduate students will have used at least three of their allocated 8 EFTS in this process. Without a student loan, students will have to come up with approximately $25,000 per year to fund the remainder of their studies and living costs.

Without the support of a guarantor and no source of income, it is almost impossible for students to access a private bank loan. The reality is, without an affluent background to shoulder the enormous cost of completing a medical degree, the EFTS cap negatively impacts students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.

Graduate students have completed extremely valuable study in their respective fields. These students are essential for the development of an effective and diverse health workforce in order to best address the changing health needs of our communities and health system.

The previous Minister of Education Paul Goldsmith stated that he wanted students to complete their study as quickly as possible, yet also encouraged students to take time out from their programmes to save money for fees.

This not only delays future doctors from taking their much-needed place in the health workforce, but also is completely out of touch with the realities of working New Zealanders. With the EFTS cap in place, some students will have to save more than $50,000 to afford the remainder of their studies. All this, whilst simultaneously having much of their paycheck deducted to service existing student loans.

We know medical graduates tend to repay their loans quickly, however we can’t do this if we can’t finish. By enforcing this cap, the government is undercutting their own investment, negatively impacting our health workforce and the health of New Zealanders.

How is this the best use of taxpayer dollars? Answer: It’s not.

Every student that is affected by this cap is a missing doctor for New Zealand.

These are hard working, dedicated people who are passionate about making a difference and improving the health of all New Zealanders. Without student loan support, we will not be able to work for the betterment of our communities, and our health system will remain overloaded and understaffed.

MEDIA:
RNZ: Med Students Disappointed by Broken Budget Promises
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/357727/med-students-disappointed-by-broken-budget-promise

Stuff: Medical students upset Budget didn't extend student loan cap
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104055757/medical-students-upset-budget-didnt-extend-student-loan-cap

TV3: The Project:
https://www.facebook.com/TheProjectNZ/videos/1066642473472405/

Newshub: Medical student debt could cost the health of New Zealanders
http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/06/medical-student-debt-could-cost-the-health-of-new-zealanders.html

Te Kāea: Māori medical students push loan caps to be lifted
http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/national/maori-medical-students-push-loan-caps-be-lifted

Women’s Weekly: My dream has a price
https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/new-zealand-womans-weekly/20180115/281608125837244

Radio NZ: "I'd already need to be a doctor to save for it"
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/344614/i-d-already-need-to-be-a-doctor-to-save-for-it

Radio NZ: Med Students face dropping out over loan cap
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/336713/med-students-face-dropping-out-over-loan-cap

Stuff: Medical Student forced to turn to Givealittle after hitting student loan borrowing cap
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/99581590/medical-student-forced-to-turn-to-givealittle-after-hitting-student-loan-borrowing-cap

How it will be delivered

We are currently in talks with Members of Parliament who are interested in accepting and presenting the petition to government on our behalf. We will keep you updated on progress!


Reasons for signing

  • This is why we don't have enough doctors
  • It isn't fully clear to me why this cap was imposed in the first place. Maybe a better solution would be to work towards a significant reduction in fees. There is a big problem for the whole community because of the need for doctors (and others) to spend so much of their salaries after qualifying on re-paying their loans, and that forces them to demand higher salaries which, in turn, leads to increasing medical costs for patients. An extemely vicious cycle.
  • We're short on nurses and Dr's alike. Let's not have any more health proffesion staff being burnt out and leaving the profession.

Updates

2018-07-09 14:14:21 +1200
Success badge small

Petition is successful with 4,637 signatures

2018-03-15 16:17:10 +1300

Kia ora e hoa mā,

Thanks to your support, we were able to secure pre-election promises from all the current governmental political parties that they would remove the cap.

With the new government in place, we now have the opportunity to hold them to account.

We have requested a meeting with Minister for Education, Hon. Chris Hipkins, to present our petition and confirm the government's intention to address the cap in the 2018 Budget, which comes out in May.

This is our last chance to make sure that students who have reached the cap can access a student loan next year.

Please take a minute to share this petition via social media and email so we can boost our numbers before delivery!

Please take this one extra step to make sure the government will #LetUsFinish!

Thank you so much for your support.

Ngā mihi nui,

Kera, Chayce & Ajda
NZMSA & Te Oranga LetUsFinish Campaign Team

2017-07-25 17:50:15 +1200

1,000 signatures reached

2017-07-24 22:19:03 +1200

500 signatures reached

2017-07-24 19:56:26 +1200

100 signatures reached

2017-07-24 19:35:05 +1200

50 signatures reached

2017-07-24 19:19:11 +1200

25 signatures reached

2017-07-24 19:14:52 +1200

10 signatures reached