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Commission helps students get sorted

As part of its push to promote saving, the Retirement Commission has turned its attention on young people with a new addition to its website.

Wednesday, March 5th 2003, 3:16AM

by Sue Allen

The Retirement Commission added another dimension to its Sorted website, with a section aimed specifically at students.

As well as budget calculators and reminders about the long-term responsibility of taking out a student loan, the site has some interesting ways of making users think about money.

The "money personality planner" has a list of tick box questions which tells students if they are a Money Maestro or a Money Mechanic.

The site’s "qualification value calculator" is aimed at making students think how much their qualification is worth in earning potential as against debt to get there.

Retirement Commission marketing and communications manager, Robyn Cormack, says taking out a student loan is often the first major financial responsibility many young people take on and the site aims to give information to make that step easier.

"We are not saying do or don’t study, we are saying here are some of the things young people need to think about to make a well-rounded decision."

The loan calculator is also a bit of an eye-opener – after filling in the boxes, the calculator delivers up the true cost of the loan and the age by which borrowers can expect to pay it off if they stick to minimum repayments.

The site also gives a step-by-step guide to work out the true cost of studying by calculating study fees and realistic living expenses.

Other links take users to scholarship sites, the Student Job Search site, the Inland Revenue (for information on paying back student loans) and study loan and student allowance information sites.

President of Massey at Wellington Student’s Association, Mel Borich, says the site is "fantastic" and really informative.

She said the uncluttered site had lots of useful advice and tools and great links to more information.

"I sat there and worked out how long it is going to take me to pay back my loan and it was really scary. I think I might start making some extra payments."

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