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Continuous Student Allowance promises efficiency

A continuous Student Allowance promises efficiency and equity gains

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association (ATSA) awaits with interest the promised discussion document which will investigate tertiary student support changes signalled by the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) over the last several months. ATSA believes that a relatively simple mechanism to improve efficiency and equity would be a continuous student allowance for eligible students.

"A continuous allowance would provide considerable administrative benefits for Study Link,", ATSA President Julie Pettett stated. "Additionally, removing the bureaucratic need for students to re-apply after every study break would also reduce the stress and uncertainty students currently face."

ATSA notes that the current regulations require students to reapply for allowances if they have a study break of more than three weeks. For students studying in a full academic year, this entails up to three separate applications for the same allowance. For study over three years, a student would need to provide exactly the same information, repeat the same declarations and suffer an increasing amount of stress and uncertainty up to eight times. "The current rules are absurd," Pettett said. "Not only do students suffer unnecessarily, but the additional costs to Study Link are an administrative drain which is wasteful."

ATSA remains firm in its belief that a universal student allowance is ultimately achievable, and expects to see substantial progress by the government in reaching that goal over the next two years. "We are realistic enough to appreciate it will not happen overnight, but students will be looking for more than minor tweaking of student support funding this year," Pettett concluded. "ATSA expects the government to increase access to allowances substantially, and fine tuning the regulations as we propose will remove some of the waste and stress from the current 'senselessly bureaucratic' regulations."

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