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Budget 2007: Supporting tertiary students

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister for Tertiary Education

Supporting students vital for tertiary education

Budget 2007 strengthens the Labour-led government's investment in student support by expanding allowances and scholarships for an extra 12,000 students, Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen announced today.

"The government’s considerable investment in student support increases by $28.9 million of operating funding over four years primarily directed towards students from low-income backgrounds.

"This government has made improved access to tertiary education a priority. We have stabilised fees, introduced interest free student loans, and consistently raised living allowances and eligibility.

"Our policies have greatly improved the affordability of tertiary education. This is vital if we are to encourage more students to undertake the kinds of training needed to drive economic transformation."

In the measures announced today:

- The parental income threshold for entitlement to a full student allowance will increase by 10 per cent, to around $44,330 per annum, from 1 January 2008. The budget will provide $16.2 million in operating funding over four years for this initiative.

- The student allowance personal income abatement threshold will be adjusted for inflation each year. This initiative will be introduced from 1 April 2008, and will maintain the real value of personal and couple income thresholds.

This will cost $706,000 over four years.

- The Step Up Scholarship pilot will be expanded and redesigned to increase access and equity opportunities for students from low-income backgrounds, costing $11.4 million over four years. This will provide another 180 scholarships, an increase of 50 per cent.

- The Ngārimu Scholarship fund will be strengthened in order to assist Māori leadership at a cost of $595,000 over four years.

"These initiatives further underline the Labour-led government's commitment to support students so more of them can contribute their skills to creating a dynamic and innovative economy and to our social and cultural well being."

ENDS


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