Upgrades to the student loans system at the Inland Revenue Department, on the back of the ageing FIRST platform, are proceeding to plan and will come on stream in time to serve current changes to the student loans service and recent legislative amendments, says Katrina Williams, IRD programme director, student loans.
“Inland Revenue is delivering the legislative changes of the Student Loan Scheme Act 2011 and the Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill through its FIRST system,” she says. “Significant system changes have already been delivered from March 5, such as enabling borrowers to apply for a special deduction rate or repayment deduction exemption through their Inland Revenue online services account.”
The amendment bill passed its final stages on April 4 and is now law.
A further major software release over Easter weekend proceeded as planned, Williams adds. This delivers “the main provisions of the Student Loan Scheme Act 2011 such as the consolidated view of loan balance and pay period repayment obligations for salary or wage earners in New Zealand,” she says. “Further work will continue until April 2013 to deliver the remaining system and legislative changes in line with the dates specified in the relevant legislation.”
The decision to cater for student loan amendments on the basis of the existing FIRST system followed the abandonment of a $35million plan to redevelop the student loans system on the basis of Oracle software, after $21 million of the budget had already been spent.