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Removal of Work History criterion

May 2004

Removal of Work History criterion highlights larger anomaly.

The removal of work history as a criteria for applications for an independent circumstances student allowance means that working adults will soon be means tested on their parents income if they apply for student allowances.

This policy draws attention to a huge anomaly in the student allowances system. Instead of addressing the absurd policy which defines students under the age of 25 as a child, the government would rather take away 6200 students right to a full allowance and force them to be assessed for a living allowance on the basis of their parents income. The likelihood is that the majority of those 6200 students will now be eligible for only a few dollars a week once their parents’ income is taken into account.

If you assume that each one of these students receives $150 dollars a week and the average allowance period is 36 weeks (though many courses are longer) this policy alone will save the government approximately $33.5 million per year. Which starts to make the Tertiary Education ‘spend up’ more of a reshuffle.

The real of this policy will be to increase student debt as these students borrow to live, or reduce the level of household income this government is trying to increase..

The government needs to think beyond the shallow ‘Consistency of delivery’ argument which justifies this change in policy because the current application does not fit with the New Zealand Bill of rights. Their task is to look at the far more discriminatory but harder to address issue of treating all students under the age of 25 as children.

ATSA appeals to this government to ask the hard questions.

Why are students still considered children until they are 25?

What impact does this policy have on parents, families?

Is the Government planning on bringing the voting, drinking and eligibility for a motor vehicle license age into line with student allowances?


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