Defaulting student loan borrowers in Australia have stumped up nearly $5 million in payments, thanks to new information received from tax authorities across the Tasman, Revenue Minister Judith Collins and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith say.
An information exchange between the countries allows the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to provide Inland Revenue with up-to-date contact details for Kiwi borrowers living in Australia.
The first exchange in November 2016 provided new contact details for more than 57,000 borrowers, 38,000 of which were in default. A sample of these was then sent by Inland Revenue to a collection agency.
By May 2017, repayments received were in excess of $4.7m, with some borrowers paying off their debt in full, and contacts from more than 3,000 to set up repayment plans. An additional 12,000 borrowers have voluntarily contacted Inland Revenue since the arrangement has been in place.
“I’m thrilled with the results from the first exchange, now is the right time for defaulting borrowers living in Australia to come to the party and make good on their debt.
“This first round of figures from the information exchange reflects the hard work that’s gone into it by Inland Revenue,” Ms Collins says.
A second exchange recently took place and more repayments are expected as the names and contact details of 10,000 borrowers have been provided to a collection agency.
“The message to all borrowers, particularly those who are overseas, is to keep in contact with Inland Revenue so that they can help keep you on track or sort out any problems you may have meeting your repayments,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“New Zealand’s student loan system has provided the opportunity for a tertiary education to hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. But it will only continue to work if borrowers repay their share.”