Australia is giving New Zealanders access to student loans for university

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New Zealanders who’ve lived in Australia for more than a decade after entering the country as a dependent child will be given access to higher education student loans as part of a new arrangement announced during prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to his Kiwi counterpart John Key.

The programme is expected to make around 2,600 New Zealanders eligible to pursue high-level vocational education or training qualifications in 2016.

Many New Zealanders who have lived in Australia since childhood have been locked out of the expensive higher education system and faced exorbitant fees compared to their Australian counterparts.

Australia was named the most expensive country for overseas students last year, with costs of university fees and living costs adding up to more than $38,000 annually, according to data from HSBC.

Here’s a look at the scale of Australian higher education for international students:

Student loans are currently indexed each year in line with inflation (CP1) where you can choose have make voluntary repayments or have it automatically paid through the income tax system.

According to the NZ embassy, the major differences for New Zealand-based borrowers under the current scheme are that “overseas-based borrowers get charged interest; repayments don’t automatically get deducted from overseas salary; and the annual obligation is a fixed minimum repayment amount based on the size of the total loan – not based on income”.

It is estimated that Australian university fees will increase by another 30% by 2016.

The programme is expected to be introduced into Parliament next week.

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