Yesterday I learned that university tuition in New Zealand costs just under $6,000/year. We’re talking $3-$4K cheaper than in-state tuition in the states, and a ridiculous $24,000 cheaper than out of state American tuition. New Zealand isn’t broken up into states. They have regions (ours will be Canterbury) but not in the sense that it costs more to go to school in your own country in a different region. Where I’m going with this though, is I just learned that the student loans are subsidized by the government and have a 0% interest rate. Are you kidding me?
There’s a catch. The 0% interest rate is good as long as the graduate continues to live and work in New Zealand. If the graduate looks for greener pastures elsewhere (well, they wont find greener pastures, but maybe more green in their wallets…) a 6.6% interest rate is slapped onto the debt.
(Disclaimer: I’m discussing a topic from a fellow blogger’s post at www.furtherthanyouthink.com. She has no clue who I am or that I exist, but I found this topic so interesting, that I’m blatantly plagiarizing her idea. My version is of course much simpler and probably inadequately explained, but you’re stuck with me.)
Anyways, once a young buck graduates with his degree and secures a job, he’s expected to pay back his loan. Instead of allowing the nonsense of itty bity payments, or defaulted loan payments, the government will just automatically take $0.10 for each $1.00 he earns before taxes. (This only happens if he’s making $19K+/year… if you’re not, I believe you can defer.) Some may find this whole system socialist, because it kind of is, but I think it’s brilliant. It’s forced responsibility, really.
But here’s the most fantastic/baffling part: If you pay back more than $500/year in addition to the automatic deduction, the government rewards you by chipping in 10%. $50 to your $500. So in theory, you’d actually be better off financially to take out a loan and pay it all off in one lump sum, than to just pay for college up front. Essentially with this system, the NZ government will pay 1/11 of your tuition. A country that is actually helpful in gaining higher education. What a concept.
In addition to this, I learned that car insurance is ridiculously cheap ($11/month), that GMOs are illegal to grow in NZ, and that kids are basically mandated to play organized sports in middle school. Again, a lot of people may find the latter fact to be inappropriate, but I love it. Forced team work, forced exercise. Lots of lessons about winning, losing, and working together. Cool. Oh, and genetically modified food that can give you cancer and disease? Kiwis just aren’t super into that.
I guess I’m wrapping up a bit of a pointless post. Some (GMO free) food for thought, and that’s about it.
On a funny side note, I told Scott that we should get an iPad in addition to the MacBook so that we wouldn’t have to squabble over who got access to the internet once we move. He gave me a smug lecture on the superiority of living more simply and moving to a place where we wouldn’t need such unnecessary toys and conveniences. I wore him down after we had the MacBook for a week however (Apple envy), and the iPad Mini was sent to my folk’s house for safe keeping during our move.
He unwrapped it when we got to the bay area about 72 hours ago, and has seriously been tapping and swiping and clicking and watching non-stop.
I would tell him “I told you so…” but I’m just thankful we’ll be living simply with two computers.