Avoiding the trap of student debt

By: Vanessa Dodunski

With students visiting prospective universities and finalising their career paths, it’s important that they receive good debt advice.

Fees may be free for the first year, but nothing else is.

As students head off from secondary school, many teens will be juggling their finances for the very first time.

Hannah McQueen from enableMe says it is important students use the opportunities available, so they leave university with as little debt as possible.

“Many students meet their weekly costs by accessing the $228.81 per week they are able to borrow,” says Hannah.

“Multiplied by 40 weeks a year for three years, and with some course-related costs, you could leave university with debt in excess of $30,000.

“This can be like a noose around your neck - ask one of the 730,000 Kiwis who owe some of the $15.7billion in student debt.”

For this reason, it is a good idea for students to have a part-time job to keep their borrowing to an absolute minimum.

It can also help them to work out whether they are on the  right career path. Hannah says the danger of a fee-free offer is it doesn’t encourage careful  course selection.

“I recently spoke to two students with student loans in excess of $80,000 and they had realised that they no longer wanted to pursue the career they had been studying towards.

“I cannot emphasis enough the importance of having a clear idea of how your qualification will help you forge a career.”

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