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Student Loan Scheme (Exemptions and miscellaneous provisions) Amendment Act 2010
The Student Loan Scheme (Exemptions and Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Bill 2009 was introduced into Parliament on 4 August 2009. The Bill had its first reading on 25 August 2009 and was considered by the Education and Science Committee, which reported back to the House on 27 November 2009. The Bill completed all remaining Parliamentary stages under urgency on 23 February 2010 and received Royal assent on 6 March 2010.
The new Act introduces a number of mainly technical changes to the student loan repayment rules to ensure that the law is consistent and operates as intended. It also extends interest-free loans to borrowers from Niue, the Cook Islands and Tokelau, which as Realm countries share a special relationship with New Zealand.
Borrowers in Realm countries may be granted an exemption from the requirement that they be present in New Zealand to qualify for an interest-free loan. This reflects the special relationship that Realm countries have with New Zealand and aims to encourage borrowers who want to remain in and make a contribution to these countries to do so.
Borrowers engaged in full-time study overseas under a formal exchange programme approved by the New Zealand Government, or a formal agreement between a New Zealand education provider and an overseas tertiary education provider, or post-graduate study that cannot be completed in New Zealand may be granted an exemption from the requirement that they be present in New Zealand to qualify for an interest-free loan.
The amount that may be deducted from the salary and wages of borrowers who have not met their student loan repayment obligations has been increased from 10 cents in the dollar to up to 15 cents.
Borrowers who return to New Zealand will be allowed an interest-free loan if they fully repay their loan before they have been back in New Zealand for 183 days.
Student Loan Scheme (Exemptions and Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Act 2010 - Minor issues