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Number getting student allowances has dropped

12 April 2006

Number getting student allowances has dropped

The number of students receiving a student allowance has continued to drop noted Conor Roberts, Co-president of the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA).

“Recent Studylink figures reveal that the number of students receiving a living allowance dropped to 56,806 students in 2005, down from 60,826 in 2004 and over 70,000 in 2001.”

“This is disastrous, less and less tertiary students are being supported through study and the sad fact is that 40% of the total amount owed through the student loan scheme is from students forced to borrow to live, pay the bills, rent and food.”

Since 1992 students under 25 have faced tough parental means-testing to determine their eligibility for a student living allowance.

“The parental means test is unfair and we call upon the government to increase access to allowances by dropping the unfair age test at the next budget and turn around the declining number of students who are supported while they study.”

“Yesterday the Department of Statistics showed that borrowers under 25 years of age transferred the highest median loan balance to the IRD, this is due to the tough parental means testing regime these students face when applying for a student allowance.”

Department of Statistics information also showed that students overseas transferred a higher median loan balance to the IRD and on average owed $11,790 more (an average loan balance of $22,640) than those assumed to be residing in New Zealand (an average of $10,850).

“High fees and low access to allowances is resulting in high debt and forcing students overseas. We need to turn this around.”

“The no interest on student loans policy is good for people working their way out of debt. We need to stop the drivers of debt and therefore prevent students getting into debt in the first place.”

“The government should support students while they study by granting a living allowance to all students,” he concluded.

ENDS

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