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Otago Polytechnic Hit Worse

Media Release

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Attention: Education and Political reporters

For immediate release

Otago Polytechnic Hit Worse

Polytechnic students suffer at the hands of the Governments Student Allowance Scheme

In 2002, 1,124 Full-time Otago Polytechnic students received a student allowance compared to 820 students in 2005. This is around a 27% drop in 3 years.

Both Otago University and Otago Polytechnic students have been experiencing yearly declines under the current student allowance scheme, though Otago Polytechnic students have been worse affected. Full-time Otago University students receiving an allowance have decreased by around 9% in 3 years. In 2002, 4,759 Otago University Students got an allowance compared to 4,297 in 2005.

"Despite the Governments claims that there has been a 25% increase in access to student allowances, statistics for Otago Polytechnic show that there is a 27% percent drop", says Otago Polytechnic Students' Association (OPSA) Co – president Richard Mitchell.

"User-pays education is damaging Polytechnics rather than boosting their numbers", stated Mr. Mitchell.

"One third of total student debt is owed by students who are forced to borrow to live. The Government needs to move to stop the drivers of debt and low access to student allowances is part of the problem. Introducing a Universal Student Allowance would not only stop the rapidly increasing student debt but also ensure that students are supported while studying," Mr. Mitchell concluded.

* Data supplied by the Ministry of Education in response to an Official Information Act Request


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