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Govt report justifies universal allowance call

Government report justifies calls for universal student allowances

Students are welcoming the release of a government report highlighting the positive educational outcomes associated with student allowances.

“The findings of this report come as no surprise. NZUSA has long advocated that adequate support in the form of student allowances is integral to academic success, and this government report now confirms this,” said Paul Falloon, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

The Ministry of Education report, Educational achievements of student support recipients, found that those who receive student allowances do better academically and are twice as likely to achieve successful completion of their studies.

“This evidence provides an excellent academic justification for the introduction of a universal student allowance”, said Falloon.

Currently only around one third of students receive an allowance, with two thirds excluded due to parental-income means-testing till the age of 25. As a result many must borrow simply to cover basic living costs, resulting in the vast amount of student debt that individual students bear, and the immense collective student debt of $10 billion now held in the community.

“In 2007 NZUSA conducted the national Student Income & Expenditure Survey and found that 90% of fulltime students undertake paid work during the academic year, and 59% cite a stressful financial situation as a major concern,” said Falloon. “The impact of this, and the often significant time away from study at paid work, has concerned academics and student representatives alike for years,” concluded Falloon.

With both political and public support for a universal student allowance, and now government research identifying allowances as a significant factor in positive educational outcomes, the time is now right for its implementation into policy.

ENDS

The report can be found at http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/tertiary_education/29496/29497

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