The privacy commissioner has rejected a government proposal to hand over credit histories of students who fail to repay government loans to a credit reference agency. Allan Chiang Yam-wang warned this action could prompt other government units and private companies to press for similar rights to check people's credit histories. 'I fear that the implementation of the proposal will open the floodgate ... to requests of a similar nature from other government departments for recovery of overdue taxes, government rents and rates or water charges,' Chiang said in a statement. 'Private sector sources are also keen to recover outstanding debts from their customers. The privacy risks arising from expanding the range of credit data providers could be disproportionate.' Chiang said it was incumbent on the government to seek 'less privacy-intrusive measures'.The controversial proposal forms part of a review of loan schemes under the Student Financial Assistance Agency. The government hopes the measure could deter students from defaulting. Official statistics show that up to the last academic year, about 13,000 students failed to repay loans totalling HK$213 million. At a Legislative Council education panel meeting yesterday, many lawmakers raised concerns over the privacy implications of the proposal and asked the government to reconsider. Undersecretary for education Kenneth Chen Wei-on argued the proposal was meant to encourage students to be more responsible. 'If the government takes these cases to court, the student's debt information is also made public,' he said. Deputy secretary for education Esther Leung Yuet-yin said this data would be removed one year after debts were cleared. Officials planned to meet Chiang about the matter later this month. Concerns were also raised over a possible rise in university tuition fees after officials said the government would revisit the subsidy level.