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Investment in students strengthened

Joint Statement
Tertiary Education and Revenue

Investment in students strengthened

Today’s budget further strengthens the government’s investment in tertiary students with a student support package valued at $130.8 million in operating funding and $24.4 million in capital funding over four years.

“With this Budget, the lot of the individual student continues to improve, and that is good news for the whole society’s competitiveness over time,” Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson said.

Today’s initiatives include:
• a 10 percent increase in the parental income threshold for a full student allowance from 1 January 2009 (benefiting 12,000 students a year)
• lowering the age limit for student allowances parental income testing to age 24, and lifting the maximum rate of student allowances for those aged 24 to the level for students aged 25 years and above (benefiting more than 5,000 students a year)
• indexing the student loan living cost component to inflation from 1 April 2009, following a one-off increase from $150 per week to $155 per week on 1 January 2009
• a 50 per cent expansion of the Bonded Merit Scholarship Scheme to 1500 scholarships per year (benefiting 500 high-achieving undergraduate students each year)

“These changes give effect to the provisions of the United Future’s confidence and supply agreement with this government to improve access to student allowances, including a reduction in the age at which the parental income test applies,” Peter Dunne said.

Pete Hodgson also acknowledged the Green Party’s work with this government on the moves to strengthen the parental income threshold changes.

Pete Hodgson said measures announced today build on previous announcements including:

• abolishing interest on all student loans to stop debts escalating
• controlling tuition fees
• earlier increases in the parental income threshold for allowances so that over half of eligible students now receive a non-repayable allowance.


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