Graduates who fail to make student loan repayments should face arrest like New Zealanders

The Independent is reporting that graduates who move overseas and fail to repay their student loans after their studies should be arrested, suggests an education expert.

Sam Cannicott, former Regent’s University London employee who now works for Statistics New Zealand, described how New Zealand’s “no-nonsense approach” to collecting student loan repayments from graduates overseas highlights the “timidity of the steps taken in the UK.”

He said: “Former students who fail to make repayments face arrest at the New Zealand border, which is proving to be a strong deterrent.”

Cannicott explained how “breaking the link” between income and loan repayments for graduates who head overseas, as New Zealand has done, “removes bureaucratic barriers” that make it difficult to chase repayments. He continued: “Brexit presents an opportunity for the UK to learn from New Zealand because there is less need to ensure the repayment terms of EU students are the same as those for domestic students.

Nick Hillman, director of Hepi, supported New Zealand’s tough action against those who avoid paying their loans, and said: “Tax evasion and benefit fraud rip taxpayers off. Defaulting on your student loan could be regarded as just as bad. Yet it is fairly common among both Brits and EU citizens who study in the UK before working abroad. Whitehall has never gripped this problem fully, but New Zealand’s experience suggests strong enforcement action works.”

More at: Graduates who fail to make student loan repayments should face arrest like New Zealanders

Do you agree with this idea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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  1. I presume the Government will also face charges for changing the terms of the Student Loan agreement without consultation and completely illegally?

    Any other Loan Provider would be hauled over the coals for such conduct.

    I’m one of the ones paying back their Student Loan and agreed to the Terms and Conditions at the time.

    It’s utterly disgusting that those who choose to work hard and better themselves at their own cost are penalised.

  2. bentleykarl

    SchoolsImprove So if an ex gov chancellor of the exchequer failed to pay back a national loan when he’s said he would does he go to jail?

  3. The article and full report claim student loan debt is  ‘approximately £70 billion, 16 per cent of GDP.’   Really?  16% of UK GDP (£1,833,233,000,000 according to ONS) is £293,317,280,000.  That’s a little more than £70b.  If the author can’t get basic statistics correct then why should we take any notice of his suggestion to prevent those who ‘fail’ to make repayments leaving the country?  Or, as suggested in the report’s conclusion, ‘take advantage of passport renewal’ to pursue overdue student loan payments’?

    ONS stats here:

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