Heather du Plessis-Allan: Your fault if you can't pay back student loan

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 29 Oct 2019, 4:31PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Your fault if you can't pay back student loan

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 29 Oct 2019, 4:31PM

I can’t say I feel a lot of sympathy for these people who’ve let their student loans get out of control.

A few of them have been complaining to the media today. The Herald’s launched a new series looking at how much they still owe, and it’s a fair whack: $16 billion in total.

And most of them are making excuses saying it’s not their fault that their student loan debt is now so high.

Take for example Amanda who called Kerre McIvor this morning. She’s living in Australia, got a student loan of $86,000, and she’s scared that if she comes back home, she’ll get arrested at the border.

This is apparently New Zealand’s fault because she started with a reasonably easy-to-pay off loan of 26k, and she didn’t think the loan was growing because she thought she would only have to start paying it back when she got home.

Amanda told Kerre: “My mother has been frightened that I’m going to be arrested the airport.  It’s not a very nice way to be.”

When asked by Kerre who’s fault is was, Amanda replied: “Well certainly not mine.”

That’s the ‘I didn’t know the details’ excuse. Then you’ve got the ‘I didn’t get IRD’s letters’ excuse. The ‘I was too young to make a financial decision’ excuse. Or the ‘I didn’t know it would be so hard to pay back’ excuse.

And the list goes on. There’s always an excuse, and it’s always someone else’s fault. But generally when you look closer it’s always simple; the person with the loan just stopped paying it back. Simple as that.

What part of needing to pay back a loan do these people not understand?

Let me give another perspective on student loans. I had one, I paid it back. I didn’t go overboard on how much I borrowed, because I knew I had to pay it back. And then I stayed here in New Zealand and worked here because I knew it was interest-free here, but if I went overseas it would be more expensive.

And I’m grateful. I’m really grateful that the taxpayers of New Zealand lent me money for free so I could pay for my education.

So thank you. Thank you for the loan, thank you for making it interest free.

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