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UF: Give students a fair go

UF: Give students a fair go

The Government has to give students and their parents a financial break and stop treating people in their mid-twenties as children for student allowance purposes, United Future leader Peter Dunne and education spokesman Bernie Ogilvy said today.

"You can be on the dole at 18 whether your parents are paupers or millionaires, but when you are a student the Government decides your student allowance up until the age of 25 on your parents' income.

"Let's start testing students on their own income from the age of 20. It's time to end the fiction that at 24 you are dependent upon your parents.

"That is simply ridiculous," the pair said from United Future's two-day caucus retreat in Upper Hutt.

"This is just another example of how those who try to achieve have obstacles placed in their way," Mr Ogilvy said.

And for those under 20, the relevant parental incomes (currently up to $28,000 for the full allowance, with reduced amounts through to $50,000) should be increased to reflect increases in the cost of living since those figures were set in 1992.

"And we need to stop pussy-footing around at the top-end of the scale with these few bucks a week type payments. Let's be realistic about the cost of being a student," Mr Dunne said.

"The best way to attack the debilitating level of student debt being incurred by a whole generation is to lower the costs, and fixing the student allowance system is a good starting point."

United Future has previously advocated bonding in key professions traded off against student loan debt reductions, and voluntary parental saving schemes from birth with an initial government contribution.

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