More tertiary graduates will end up on the dole as a result of the Government's new student loan repayment rates, according to UCOL's student spokeswoman.
Kati Hogan, who co-ordinates with the UCOL student association president on Wanganui campus issues, said the Government's intention to change the student loan repayment rate from 10c to 12c in every dollar over the repayment threshold, would have negative effects in the long run on students.
"They're going to end up having to be on benefits. Personally, I think our government is stupid," Ms Hogan said.
She said the changes would make people less inclined to study as they would decide it was not financially viable, and ultimately that would not help New Zealand's unemployment rates.
"It's going to get to the point where students can't afford to study."
A graduate earning a median income of $41,600 will pay $8.67 more per week under the new repayment rate.
Ms Hogan, who studied nail technology and beauty therapy, said her own loan was around $6500.
She thought the average UCOL student would study for three years, and rack up about $7000 to $12,000 a year in debt, meaning the average UCOL student would graduate with around $30,000 worth of debt.
She said Wanganui UCOL students had high employment rates after graduating, and often left the city to find jobs.
"Overall, they do really good. They can go anywhere, to New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington."
Nicky Reed, a first-year UCOL hairdressing student, was unhappy about the increased repayments. "It's horrible. I personally think that makes things harder. The job situation in New Zealand is already so bad, so when you do work you're probably going to get minimum wage," Ms Reed said.
She thought increasing repayments only made things harder and said students should be able to pay back only as much as they could afford.
Milly Mitchell-Anyon, a 21-year-old Massey student doing museum studies extramurally in Wanganui, said her student loan was around $40,000.
"I guess I stand with all students. It's an extra cost added to a big cost. I'm probably not going to mind in the long run," Ms Mitchell-Anyon said.
She did not think there should be loans at all, but realised they were a "necessary evil".
She said a couple of her friends were quite depressed about repaying their loans already. One, who had recently graduated with a BA, was now working as a butcher in Wellington.
The increased repayment was signed off by Cabinet on July 23 and was brought in to address New Zealand's $11 billion student debt. The increase will kick in from April next year.
The hard facts and figures
$19,084 - Graduates must now repay 12c in every dollar they earn over this threshold.
$30,000 - The average student loan of a UCOL student, according to campus co-ordinator Kati Hogan.
$41,600 - The median income for those earning from wages and salaries in 2011, according to Statistics New Zealand.
$8.67 - The additional amount per week graduates will have to pay back.
$450.92 - the additional amount per year graduates will have to pay back.
11 years - length of time it will take a person earning a median income to pay off their $30,000 student loan under the new repayment rate. Under the old repayment rate, it would have taken 13 years.