Student Debt: USA vs NZ

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Student debt is the one thing that students definitely do not like to think about. Building up that student loan over your three, four or how ever many years you are at university is frustrating and terrifying. Also, that immense amount of pressure to succeed and pay off that student loan after university is stressful to even think about. Being in debt is definitely where you don't want to be, but with university its kind of hard to avoid. This is why going to America on a sports scholarship is such a great opportunity. Depending on your scholarship, you will have certain things paid for, such as tuition and accommodation.

If you are on the fence about staying in New Zealand for university, or going to America for university on a sports scholarship, then have a think about the kinds of student debt that you could potentially be looking at for both options.

A study done in America by the National Center for Education Statistics for the school year of 2009-2010, looked at the average undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board rates for full time students at public and private tertiary institutions. This study came up with average results for each state, and each category. The average amount per year for tuition and fees at a public university in America for the year 2009-2010 was $6,695 US, which, in context is approximately $8,030 NZ.

Private universities in America are, as presumed, slightly more expensive with an average of $23,210 US (approximately $27,840 NZ), for the year of 2009-2010 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010).

These statistics are taken from 2010, which means that these prices have likely increased at least slightly since then. On average, the tuition and fees at the University of Auckland per year is $6,682. However, this varies depending on your degree and courses. If you compare these to the average American university fees, you can see that American universities are more expensive. In fact, according to a New Zealand Herald article in 2011, American universities have the highest tuition fees, and New Zealand ranks seventh after countries such as the UK, Korea, Japan, and our neighbour, Australia (NZ Herald 2011).

However, although American universities are generally more expensive, they provide many scholarships for all kinds of people. This is the wonderful thing about American universities. If you want to gain a quality degree, while playing the sport you love, then applying for a sports scholarship in America is definitely a great option. The amount you have to pay for tertiary education depends on your scholarship and university. Therefore, if you are persistent enough, then you are able to gain a quality scholarship and therefore won't even have to pay a cent.

On the other hand, if you go to America on a partial sports scholarship, you are not eligible for a student loan in America and therefore you may have trouble paying for your education. However, if you go to university in New Zealand, you will be able to get a student loan from the government and therefore are able to pay for your education. But the only thing is, you will have to eventually pay it off!

Going to an American university on a sports scholarship will definitely benefit you in terms of student debt because although you may not have a full scholarship and have to pay part of your fees up front, at least you won't be in debt after university. In addition, with your scholarship, you will definitely not have to pay as much as you would if you went to university in New Zealand. Also, you don't get these kinds of scholarship opportunities in New Zealand and therefore it is definitely a good idea to grab these opportunities while you can. 

By Mika Deane