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