#letmefinish – 7 EFTS cap on student loan

Changes to the Student Loan Scheme announced in 2010 introduced a lifetime cap on student loans of 7 EFTS (equivalent full-time student). Students may access student loan in a year if their previous EFTS is under 7.

Two major factors mean that Medical graduates frequently undergo long periods of study:

§  The undergraduate medical degree (MBChB) is five-year course with competitive entry following “pre-med” or “health science” first year programme.

§  Students who wish to do medicine but do not gain entry after the competitive first year will often undertake an undergraduate bachelor degree (plus or minus honours) in order to gain entry to the MBChB course via a postgraduate entry category.

In 2012 NZMSA endorsed a position statement calling for an exemption for medical students based on the principle of proportionality in light of the longer training requirement coupled with increasing post-graduate entrants into medicine.

1st December 2015 – The First Step Is Taken


On 1st December 2015, NZMSA welcomed the Minster of Tertiary Education Steven Joyce’s announcement of a student loan extension for post-graduate medical students. The proposed student loan changes allow graduate entry medical students to apply for an extra 1 EFTS of student loan (to make 8EFTS) as well as being able to access the Trainee Intern Grant as a lump sum in their final year of study, rather than as a monthly payment. This will allow the majority of graduate-entry medical students to complete their studies.

However NZMSA warns it still leaves some medical students without government assistance. The policy still leaves those who have studied degrees longer than three years prior to entry into Medicine, or completed bridging courses, without government assistance for the duration of their medical study.  NZMSA will continue to advocate on #letmefinish and calls on the Minister to continue his policy revision to ensure no medical students are left without student loan support.

What can Students do?

1. Sign our petition on-line
2. Send us your story. Contact with your story. We need to show the faces of 7EFTS and show how significant this is to New Zealand.

3. Write to your local MP and get them representing us too!

Find you local MP here – MP Contact Details

Either write your own letter or use this template – Write to your MP – Template for Affected Students

NZMSA and 7EFTS in the Media (Post 8EFTS and TI Grant Lump Sum Changes)


NZMSA and 7EFTS in the Media (Pre 8EFTS and TI Grant Lump Sum Changes)


View our Position Statements on 7EFTS HERE