Struggling with debt

Struggling with debt

University students are juggling loans as high as HK$190,000 to finance their education

Hong Kong university students and those enrolled in other forms of tertiary institutions must be gritting their teeth over huge debts, a recent survey suggests.

University students borrow, on average, HK$109,000 in government loans, while students taking sub-degree and private degree courses borrow HK$192,000.

The internet survey involving 727 students who have outstanding loans was carried out from late August to mid-September by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

About 65.5 per cent of those polled have taken up at least one part-time job over the past year, working for an average of 33.8 hours per week.

Just about one-tenth of students said they were confident about paying off their debt on time, while most expect they would still be repaying well into their 30s.

The most expensive fees are for private degrees, which can cost as much as HK$90,000 a year. Non-means-tested loans have an annual interest rate of 1.4 per cent, which must be repaid within 15 years after the student graduates.

Asked to rate financial pressure they faced, the students gave an average rating of 7.31 out of a scale of 10, with 10 being "intense".

Amy Fung Dun-mi, federation vice-president, suggests the government should waive interest rates while the student is still in school and subsidise more degree places, while private schools should offer more scholarships.


You might also like:

- A United Nations committee's report says putting Hong Kong's ethnic minority students in designated schools is a form of discrimination

- Hilary Moriarty, the national director of Britain's Boarding Schools' Association, says boarding schools help students mature and broaden their minds

- If you want a proper four-year undergraduate experience and a well-recognised degree title that is easy on your parent's wallet, you could look at mainland universities

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