Student Loan Scheme Annual Report 2009

Publication Details

The Annual Report for 2009 provides information on the scheme and those who borrowed from it in 2008, as well as the financial schedules for the fiscal year to 30 June 2009.

Key findings in the report are:

  • The nominal value of loan balances was $10.259 billion as at 30 June 2009
  • 179,000 students borrowed from the loan scheme in 2008 (69% of eligible students)
  • As at 30 June 2009 562,000 people had a student loan with Inland Revenue for collection
  • The median repayment time for those who left study in 2006 is forecast to be 7 years

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: November 2009

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  To view the individual chapters please refer to the 'Sections' inset box.  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.


The report explains the purpose of the loan scheme and changes to it, its role in meeting the goals of the Tertiary Education Strategy and its contribution to increasing participation and achievement in the tertiary education sector, as a component of the student support system.

The report reviews the outcomes of the loan scheme, provides detailed information about the characteristics of borrowers and associated borrowing and repayment trends, and includes information about the valuation of the loan scheme and forecasting.

Tables behind graphs and historical data

The data underlying the graphs in this report, and tables providing more detailed historical data, will be available on the Education Counts website later this year. These tables will be available for downloading in spreadsheet format.


The information in this report has been developed from data drawn from four principal sources. Each of the three agencies responsible for the loan scheme has supplied data. The information on new borrowers and borrowers in study is largely drawn from the Ministry of Social Development. Inland Revenue has supplied data on the repayments and loan balances of all borrowers, including those who have left study. Tertiary education data and data on borrowing in the years before 2000 were supplied by the Ministry of Education. Other data has come from Statistics New Zealand's integrated dataset on student loans and allowances (see details below). Data from these sources is complemented by information drawn from the Census, the Household Labour Force Survey and other published data sources. Each table and graph states the source of its data.

The data behind the graphs and tables in this report, as well as additional Ministry of Education research cited, can be found on the Education Counts website.

Where data in the tables and graphs is provisional and subject to minor change at a later stage, this has been noted.

The integrated dataset

The integrated dataset on student loans and allowances is managed by Statistics New Zealand according to the requirements of the Statistics Act 1975 and follows strict privacy protocols that have been developed with guidance from the Privacy Commissioner. Care has been taken to ensure that privacy concerns are met and that the integrity and accuracy of data are maintained.

The integrated dataset combines:

  • information collected by tertiary education providers on students, enrolments and courses
  • information collected by the Ministry of Social Development on students' borrowings under the loan scheme and their student allowances payments 
  • data on student loan balances, repayments, income and tax status from Inland Revenue.

The dataset has most recently been updated with records up to 31 March 2008.

Nominal dollars

In this report, unless otherwise stated, all financial data is expressed in nominal dollars without adjustment for inflation.


Statistics on ethnicity and ethnic groups are obtained from student declarations on enrolment and loan application forms. It should be borne in mind when using these statistics that declaration of ethnicity is not mandatory. Ethnicity data supplied by Statistics New Zealand on Pacific Peoples is referred to in this report as Pasifika.

Data series

A variety of different timeframes has been used for the data series presented in this report. This is due to a number of reasons, including the availability of historical data and also as a means of highlighting interesting and important events or trends that occur over specific timeframes.

The stages of the loan process

Within this report there are three ways in which the term 'borrower' is used. These correspond to the three stages a typical borrower goes through in the Student Loan Scheme.

The first stage occurs when a borrower enters the Student Loan Scheme for the very first time. In this report these borrowers are referred to as 'new' borrowers. The details of their loan are not yet with Inland Revenue.

Once a new borrower has entered the loan scheme they become part of a larger group of 'in-study' borrowers. This group includes all new borrowers as well as those who have entered the loan scheme previously and are still drawing a student loan while studying. The number of borrowers in this group will be the total number of students who have drawn from the Student Loan Scheme in a given year.

In February following each academic year, the borrower's loan balance with StudyLink is transferred to Inland Revenue. The borrower now enters the stage of the process in which the loan is repayable if their income is above the threshold. The total number of borrowers in this group will be all those borrowers who have a student loan balance with Inland Revenue. Some of these will be students who are still studying as well as those who have previously studied, including some borrowers who are currently overseas.

Chart of Student Loan Borrowers in 2008, New borrowers 57000, In-study borrowers 179000, Borrowers who have left study 440000 and Borrowers who repaid loans in full since 1992 - 260000 .