No Interest Loans on the rise for back-to school costs

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  • More than $640,000 of No Interest Loans for education expenses expected to be issued in February.
  • Number of people turning to No Interest Loans for uniforms, books, stationery and computers has grown 73% since 2018.

A growing number of Australians are expected to take up a No Interest Loan to help cover back-to-school expenses against rising cost of living pressures this school year.

Throughout February, NAB expects to support more than $640,000 worth of No Interest Loans to help cover the costs of school essentials.

The total amount of money for education loans, which can be used to pay for uniforms, books, stationery and computers, has grown by more than 73% between 2018 and 2023, and has doubled since the pandemic.

NAB Head of Customer Vulnerability Mike Chambers said the start of the school year can be stressful for some families.

“The start of the year is often when the full impact of festive spending hits just as families are facing new costs and long lists of back-to-school expenses they quickly have to meet,” Mr Chambers said.

“With the cost of living continuing to rise, we expect to see more families on low incomes turn to a no interest loan to help them manage higher back-to-school costs.”

Since 2018, NAB has supported more than 22,692 Australians with $28 million in No Interest Loans for school essentials. Data from Good Shepherd found:

  • 85% of all No Interest Loans were issued in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
  • 13.8% of these loans were for education expenses.
  • Demand for education expenses peaked in February and averaged $1,237 per loan.

Mother of four, Belinda, said that a No Interest Loan was a “godsend” for her family and supporting their education costs.

“We have four children, two at primary and two at secondary school. It has become so hard at the end of the year, just before Christmas when the schools release the uniform, book lists and now technology requirements and I think how on earth are we going to pay for this?” Belinda said.

“My kids are at an age where they all need to bring their own device to school. That wasn’t a requirement ten years ago.”

Belinda said that despite her budgeting throughout the year it’s getting more expensive.

“I’m good with it all [budgeting]. I start doing things for the kids during the year to prepare and help cover the costs. I look at second hand uniform options, what I can recycle from one child to another, but sometimes they need it new, and it all still overwhelms me.”

“The costs kind of fluctuate over the years, but this year they’ve been tough especially with the cost of living. Because I have a big family, I live at the supermarket and the cost of my food bill is off the charts. All the things we rely on, food, electricity, phones, and internet are through the roof.”

“I don’t want my kids to miss out. That’s an emotional roller coaster on top of the financial roller coaster. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without No Interest Loans, things would be dire, to be honest.”

NAB has partnered with Good Shepherd for more than 20 years, providing access to more than $480 million dollars in No Interest Loans to nearly one million people on low incomes or experiencing vulnerability.

With 44% of Australians saying they had experienced some form of financial hardship in the second half of 2023, NAB remained the only major bank offering a program that supported Australians facing vulnerability or on low incomes with access to no interest credit.

“People facing the financial squeeze can panic and try quick fixes like pay day loans, but it’s crucial to know there are other forms of financial support available and places you can turn to for help,” Mr Chambers said.

Good Shepherd’s Executive General Manager of Client Services Dave Vicary said No Interest Loans could reduce the financial burden back-to-school costs can place on already tight budgets.

“With higher petrol prices, grocery bills and energy costs, Australians are facing a tougher time to also get their kids ready for the 2024 school year,” Mr Vicary said.

“We’re proud to partner with NAB to offer Australians facing financial vulnerability with safe, fair and affordable credit options through No Interest Loans.

“There are no hidden fees or charges and you only pay back what you borrow.”

For more information about No Interest Loans, visit the nab website.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • To find out more about No Interest Loans for school supplies click here.
  • Data excludes Tasmania.
  • State-by-state break down of education loans issued between 2018 and 2023 below.

 

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