Last chance for NZ student loan write-off, today

Thursday 7 May 2020 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Education


Twenty-five Cook Islanders on tertiary New Zealand student loans have had part of their debts paid by the government.

And today at 3pm the application closes for another batch of students who qualify for the Ministry of Education’s Returning Student Grant scheme.

Danielle Cochrane, the Secretary for Education, said this grant scheme had been running since 2018. Now in its third year, Cochrane said the grant had supported 25 applicants.

She said the number of grants available in 2020 was dependent on the number of successful applicants. This will be known when the application closes today.

The grant, which is part of the Tertiary Study Support Programme, will cover only the tuition component of eligible candidate’s New Zealand student loan on a per annum basis. Living costs loans are not covered.

It is open to Cook Islanders or permanent residents who successfully completed a tertiary qualification in 2017 and 2018, privately, in New Zealand, and have returned to the Cook Islands and engaged in fulltime employment.

The eligible students should have been resident and employed in the Cook Islands for at least one year prior to applying.

Students who successfully completed their studies in 2019 will not be eligible to apply this year.

Cochrane confirmed: “No bond is required under this scheme as they are employed and working in the Cook Islands.”

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown earlier said the scheme was one way to encourage the Cook Islands youth to gain university-level education.

“This was a way that we looked at as incentive for youths to go and get qualifications from university, but also to have a continuous pool of graduates in the local workplace.”