The Young Nats support the New Zealand Medical Students Association’s campaign to exempt medical students from the seven year equivalent full time study cap on borrowing for course costs, and want the cap extended to nine years for this group of students.
“The seven year cap makes sense for most students because most courses don’t require study beyond seven years. We know the obvious exception to this is medical graduates who need to acquire essential skills through postgraduate study” Young Nats President, Sean Topham says.
Medical students are in short-supply and are arguably our hardest working. Making it harder for them could put further pressure on the health system in the long-term.
When the cap takes effect in six months, many students close to graduating will find it difficult to finance additional costs of around $15,000, possibly forcing them to delay their study or quit altogether.
“We back students undertaking postgraduate courses, but a system where specialising in philosophy is supported and specialising in medicine is not supported needs to be fixed. Qualified doctors are essential to the quality of our health system”.
Most postgraduate medical students take eight years to complete their degree, meaning that the current cap will leave them one year short. However a smaller group of around 40 per year have done a 4 year undergraduate degree and thus will need a 2 year extension.
“Our position is that a two year extension on student loan borrowing is reasonable and will cover the vast majority of postgraduate med students” says Topham.