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PM Announces Sports-Educational Scholarships

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that the government is establishing a multi-million dollar Prime Minister's Scholarship programme to assist young athletes into tertiary study.

Approximately $1 million will be available to support study for young athletes next year. This will increase to $3 million in 2002 and $5 million in following years. The government is also seeking private sector support for the programme.

Helen Clark said that the programme has the dual purpose of assisting young athletes realise success in the sporting field while also helping them achieve tertiary education qualifications.

"This government is committed to assisting young New Zealanders towards sporting success while, at the same time, making sure they gain a good education.

"One of the best ways to help young sports people is to make sure they have some balance in their lives. Undertaking tertiary study will make them more rounded people, and, I believe, leave them better able to cope with the pressures on the sports field.

"As Australia's sporting success in recent years has shown, the spin-offs from government investment in sports is immense in terms of building national pride and identity.

"The scholarship programme is part of this government's investment in sports. It will also have economic and social benefits by helping to build the sort of skilled workforce New Zealand needs in the 21st century," Helen Clark said.

The scholarships will provide up to $5000-a-year to help cover course costs for athletes' tertiary education. Athletes will also be eligible for up to $5000-a-year for their living and sport-related expenses. Providing they continue to meet the criteria, an athlete may receive support through the scholarship programme for up to five years. The programme will be administered by the NZ Sports Foundation.


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