Budget Offers Little Relief For Students
23 May 2002
‘Short Arms, Deep Pockets’ Budget Offers Little Relief For Students
Michael Cullen’s ‘short arms, deep pockets’ approach to this year’s budget has disappointed the Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association (ATSA). ATSA is angry that after the 2002 Budget students are still the only group of people in New Zealand society who are forced to borrow to pay for food and rent.
“While it’s great to see new funding for tertiary fee stabilisation and skills forecasting, this will provide little benefit if students can’t afford to pay rent while they’re studying,” said ATSA President Julie Pettett.
After analysis of the Budget’s forecast expenditure on student allowances, it is obvious that this government has no plans to provide any real relief for students. Student allowance expenditure is forecast to only grow by about 25% over the next four years while the percentage of equivalent full time students is actually forecast to increase by 26% over the same period.
“It seems that for the next four years students are stuck with what they've got - unless the government is planning some ‘bizarre fiscally neutral’ changes to the current loans/allowance systems,” said Pettett. “In other words a debt juggling act!”
“Students continue to suffer under a tight-fisted system of student allowances and the government seems happy to sit back and ignore the real financial difficulties people are living with,” concluded Pettett. “The 2002 Budget confirms that the government is more intent on being re-elected than helping students to pay for the basic necessities of life.”