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New Member’s Bill to help reverse declining student numbers

New Member’s Bill to help reverse declining student numbers

A new Green Party Member’s Bill launched today would reinstate access to student allowances for postgraduate students, reversing the Government’s short-sighted policy that came into effect earlier this year. 

“My Education (Student Allowances Availability) Amendment Bill seeks to amend the unfair removal of postgraduate student allowances, which has left many students facing a choice between severe financial insecurity as they are forced to borrow to live or abandoning study all together,” Green Party students spokesperson Holly Walker said today.

“Initial enrolment numbers for this year show a significant number of students have had to make the hard choice to walk away from their chosen field of study and future career.”

Enrolment numbers obtained by the Green Party under the OIA show a significant drop in the number of students studying at a postgraduate level across the country compared to the same time last year. The figures exclude those studying towards Honours, which are still eligible for an allowance.

For example, Otago University has experienced a decline of 8.5% and Auckland University postgraduate enrolment numbers are down by 7.1%. 

“This level of decline isn’t the norm. It’s pretty clear that removing postgraduate allowances has pulled the rug out from under the feet of many students, who have been left with no option but to abandon their study,” said Ms Walker.

“Removing postgraduate allowances shows the Government’s disregard for higher education. National is wasting the potential of some of the best and brightest people in New Zealand by limiting higher education to those who can afford it.

“We need skilled graduates to be an innovative country. Postgraduate study is incredibly valuable to us as a society, and allows students to specialise and make a positive difference in their chosen field of study and industry.

“It is dishonest for National to talk about making New Zealand a more innovative, internationally competitive nation when it has stripped away support for the people who would do just that.

“We need smart tertiary policy that invests in our future and that values the contribution that higher education makes to our economy and society.”

Link to Member’s Bill:

www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/postgraduate_allowance_-_members_bill.pdf

ENDS

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