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Students Urged to Apply for Allowances Now

10 February 2006

For immediate release

Students Urged to Apply for Allowances Now

Anyone planning tertiary study this year is being reminded that the time to apply for a Student Allowance is right now.

StudyLink, the service of the Ministry of Social Development responsible for student allowances and other financial support, is urging new and returning students to take action.

"We strongly encourage students to get their applications in now," said StudyLink General Manager Merv Dacre.

"With the majority of courses beginning later this month students need to apply now so they can get their information to StudyLink in time.

Mr Dacre said that on 1 January this year a number of changes took effect that extended entitlements to allowances for some students.

"It is important that students are aware of these changes so that they can make informed decisions about their study," he said.
He said changes to the income abatement system means single students can now earn up to $180.00 per week before tax before their student allowance payments are affected. The combined income thresholds for couples have also increased.
Changes to parental income tests mean more students under 25 from families with one or more sibling studying will be eligible to receive a student allowance.

And more students whose parents live in separate households will also now qualify for a student allowance, because parental income tests now take the cost of running two households into account.

Mr Dacre urges students to find out if they are eligible to apply for one of the scholarships administered by StudyLink.

The new Bonded Merit Scholarship is available for the first time this year. It is for students with a B average or better in their second year of their first bachelor degree. It can pay up to $3,000.000 of compulsory course fees per year for up to four years.

Step Up Scholarships are available to help fund the compulsory course fees of students studying an approved human or animal health degree course, or a science or technology degree course.

Applications for the Bonded Merit Scholarships close on 10 March, while the Step Up Scholarships close on 24 February.

Mr Dacre said anyone wanting to find out more about allowances, scholarships or other financial support should visit the StudyLink website www.studylink.govt.nz. They can also apply online.

"If they need further information before making an application, they can contact us on 0800 88 99 00.

"The important thing is not to leave it until the last minute. There may be other information that we need before the student's payments can be approved."


ENDS

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