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2012 Budget: An attack on part time students

2012 Budget: An attack on part time students

For immediate release

“While the government may be increasing funding to tertiary education to cover an increase of student numbers, Budget 2012 is really an attack on students, particularly part time students,” says Ralph Springett, President of the Massey University Extramural Students’ Society.

Most will be unable to benefit from this increased funding as many will not be able to access study, or undertake post graduate study unless they get a scholarship or go into debt.

“If students cannot get a student allowance, a student loan for course related costs, cannot get enough income, cannot get a scholarship, how are they expected to study without taking out private loans to pay for books, travel to contact courses, and living expenses?”

The government has said it wishes to dampen demand for tertiary study so it can reduce student loan debt. It also wants everyone be able to be educated to their full potential.

“It does not make sense to promote quality education for all while promoting policies that discourage tertiary study, particularly part time study,” Springett says.

Most of Massey University’s 17,000 extramural students cannot get a student allowance, they cannot get a student loan to pay for flights or travel to contact courses or buy text books. But they still must pay off their student loan for fees and living expenses incurred while they study.

Extramural students, many of whom have two part-time jobs and pay secondary tax, will incur a 7.6% effective marginal increase on their loan repayments on earnings over $19,084 if they have kids. That's while they are studying. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce conveniently forgot to mention the former in his earlier announcement and was unaware of the latter.

If students decide to enter postgraduate study, whether part time or full time, the government has said they can borrow to fund their own studies, without clarifying why they should be treated differently to undergrad students. Most won’t be entitled to a student allowance, so will be forced to study part time. Part time study is frowned on by the government as students take longer to complete degrees.

“We have had enough of the mindless politics focusing on the cost of education at the expense of its value,” Springett says.


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