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Budget message loud and clear.

MEDIA RELEASE Date: 19 March 2005
Attention: Political/Education Reporters
For: Immediate Release

Budget message loud and clear.

Don't hold out any hope for universal student allowances or a reasonable Student loan interest rate.

The budget delivered today addressed some key areas of Tertiary Education but was well short of the mark on the desires of students.

This budget signalled that 'large one-off packages of spending will be rare over the foreseeable future' in the words of Michael Cullen Minister of Finance.

Some of the positive changes for tertiary education were an increase of the personnel income abatement level for student allowances from $135 to $180, though this level had not been addressed since 1991. Including a dollar for dollar abatement rate rather than the old 'cliff face' abatement.

Increases to parental income threshold levels for additional students and separated parents' is also welcome. The acknowledgement of the strain placed on households by having more than one full time student, and, or separated parents is long overdue for a government interested in addressing social inequalities for all.

Of note are the increases to the student component funding and the increases in funding rates for strategically relevant courses.

Although the changes are good many of the policies are a catch up from years of under funding and a student allowance scheme that is flawed at the foundations.

Rather than make any real dent into the issue of student loan debt or inequities in the student allowance scheme the changes in this budget serve to underline the message that tertiary students should not expect serious consideration of these issues for quite some time.

ENDS

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