Student bonds

A student bond is an agreement to work in New Zealand after graduation in return for money from the government. The government today announced this plan for new doctors, vets, nurses, midwives and teachers. If they work in rural areas or small towns for three years after graduation, they will get money to help pay off their student loan. If they don’t have a loan, this will be extra money for them. They can receive this money for five years.

Doctors will get $15,873 a year, vets will get $11,000, midwives $5,224, nurses $4,229 and teachers $3,500. In return, they will have to work in places that find it hard to get staff. For teachers, this can mean working in poor schools. The teachers that are needed are Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Maori language teachers.

New Zealand has a problem with graduates leaving the country to find work in Australia or the UK where they can earn more money and pay off their student loan quickly. The problem is especially bad in rural areas with not enough health workers like doctors, midwives and nurses. This causes stress to the other health workers who cannot take a holiday. Vets also prefer to work in the city but New Zealand is an agricultural country which needs vets to look after the health of sheep and cows. This new plan might encourage vets to move to rural areas.

Doctors and vets often have a very large student loan because it takes a long time to study for a medical or veterinary degree. Their course fees are higher too: about $12,000 a year instead of $4,000 for most undergraduate courses. The average student debt is more than $28,000 but some graduating doctors owe nearly $100,000.

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