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Allowances Number 1 Election Issue For Students

The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) launched its nation-wide campaign today calling on the government to introduce a universal student allowance and warned if it ignores this issue it will get a bumpy ride to the polls from students.

“The one big thing that all political parties can do to help alleviate student debt this election is to back a universal living allowance for all full time students,” said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell.

“The government is currently reviewing student support systems. We encourage them to use that process to move towards a universal allowance. Universal allowances should be considered as a serious option in this review,” said Campbell.

“The current allowances scheme is inherently flawed. Since it was introduced in 1992 the percentage of students receiving an allowance has decreased from 45% to 33%. This is because the parental income thresholds for means testing have never been adjusted for inflation,” said Campbell.

“The average bachelors graduate will leave tertiary study with a $20,000 loan. Total student debt is now over $5 billion and some students will take most of their working lives to repay their debts, and 80% of people surveyed by Colmar Brunton believe that there should be universal allowances. Now is the time for action,” said Campbell.

“Students and their families want to see for a commitment from all parties to increase access to allowances. The student debt crisis will not go away until the causes of debt are tackled head on,” said Campbell


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