But faced with a university education that came with interest charged on her loan, she believes her future would have looked very different.

“I think if there had been interest when I was considering studying, I think it would have definitely impacted my decision to go to uni,” the graduate teacher at Pakuranga College said. “It’s already punishment enough, having this massive debt. I was lucky because I had student allowances for three years, so it was in my fourth year that I had to take out extra costs.”

Many people would not be able to afford to go to university if they had to pay interest on their loan, she said. She recently calculated it would take her until she turned 31 to pay off her student debt.

“If you’re going to start looking at buying a house or moving overseas and stuff, it impacts all these decisions. Pretty much I can’t do anything serious financially until I pay off this debt.”

Some of Pedersen’s friends, who are also teachers, have moved out of Auckland to be able to afford to pay their repayments, she said.

Pedersen said the repayments already eat up $250 of her pay every week, “which would be helpful when it comes to rent and food”.

Source: The New Zealand Herald


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