To: Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, and Employment

Let Us Finish! Remove student loan cap for future doctors

Let Us Finish! Remove student loan cap for future doctors

Dear Hon. Paul Goldsmith,

Our healthcare system desperately needs doctors, yet many postgraduate entry medical students are being prevented from completing their degrees due to the government’s 8-year lifetime limit on student loans. Every student affected by the 8EFTS cap is one less 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, the undersigned, therefore urge you to remove the current 8-year lifetime limit on student loans for medical students, and students in extended professional programmes.

Let Us Finish!

Why is this important?

A recent survey of New Zealand medical students has demonstrated that many will 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.

Despite our letters, and questioning by the media, Minister for Tertiary Education, Paul Goldsmith insists that students will be able to take out alternative loans or should take time out from their degrees to save. He is wrong.

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.

Goldsmith says that the cap was put in place to encourage students to make “wise decisions” about their study.

Graduate students have completed extremely valuable, and wise, 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.

Goldsmith further states he wants students to complete their study as quickly as possible, yet also encourages 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 as much as $50,000 to afford the remainder of their studies. All this, whilst simultaneously having much of their paycheck deducted to service existing student loans.

The Minister himself has admitted that 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.

Sign our petition to help us help others! Say YES to letting us finish!


News media:
TV3: The Project:
Māori TV:


Reasons for signing

  • The time is right. Now is the time to sign
  • we need more doctors to service our community and I know this new government will help this cause.
  • Because my brother deserved better treatment from saving lives than being burdened with trying to survive himself.


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