The suggestion by Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce that student loans be tied to performance would be an improvement on the current system.
It is not in the best interests of the taxpayer or students to keep on paying loans to people who are failing significant parts of their courses.
With a limited amount of money available it should be going to ensuring high standards of teaching and helping students who help themselves, not funding those who fail.
Allowances are cut if students fail more than half their course in the previous year and that would be a sensible model to follow for loans.
Interest-free student loans were one of Labour’s election bribes. National came up with a better idea in 2005 but lost the election and swallowed the dead rat by promising to keep the loans in its 2008 campaign.
That doesn’t mean there can’t be changes to the system and stopping loans to those who fail would be a good place to start.
Helping people who graduate and work in hard to staff areas is better than propping up under-graduates who fail.
Voluntary bonding for health graduates is a good example of this and Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced the scheme will be widened.
South Canterbury has been added to the areas which are hard to staff and surgical nurses have been included in the list of hard to staff specialities.