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Decrease In Maori Receiving Student Allowances

Dramatic Decrease In Number Of Maori Receiving Student Allowances

New figures showing only 24% of Maori tertiary students received a student allowance in 2000, down from 33% in 1999 are being met with concern by the national Maori university students’ association Te Mana Akonga (TMA) and the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) who are calling on the government to increase access to student allowances.

“Given what we know about the socio-economic status of many Maori, only 24% accessing student allowances seems very low,” said TMA Kaituhono Geoff Karena. “The dramatic decrease in accessibility is also worrying as that means that more Maori are likely to be depending on the student loan scheme to meet their costs.”

“Around 33% of all students get an allowance. It is strange that the percentage of Maori getting an allowance is so much lower than the average. The impact on Maori borrowing from the loan scheme is great as the average Maori income is lower than that of Pakeha and therefore loans take longer to repay,” said Karena.

“This figure demonstrates growing inequities within the provision of student allowances. The government needs to increase access to allowances to help students avoid getting into so much debt,” said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell.

“Every year since 1992 when the current student allowances system was introduced the percentage of students eligible for allowances has decreased because the government has never adjusted parental income thresholds for the scheme. In effect you now have to be quite poor to be eligible,” said Campbell.

“Increasing access to allowances should be a priority for the government leading into an election later this year,” said Campbell.

ENDS

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