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No second chance for mature students

Media Release: 16 May 2013

No second chance for mature students.

The budget released on Thursday 16th May is another attempt to restrict access to tertiary education for students, says Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA)

"The Government has shown it isn't afraid to lead the race to the bottom, marginalising those who are too old or too young to stand up for themselves," says Daniel Haines AUSA President.

"Students between 40 and 65 have had their support significantly reduced, the Government is sending a message that mature students and secondary learners need to take on significant levels of debt to study. This clearly penalises and discriminates against people on the basis of their age.

"The Government showed its true colours today, their thoughtless approach in setting the budget showed a lack of innovation and imagination. Instead of proposing something innovative and forward thinking, the government has chipped away at an already difficult scheme.

"The Department of Internal Affairs and the Inland Revenue Department will now be sharing information to increase the Government's ability to recall overdue loans. This will prevent overseas borrowers from getting an extension or applying for new passports. The implications of this will also mean that debt collectors will be able to recall overdue debts internationally.

"The Government needs more carrot and less stick. If the repayment scheme was user friendly there will be a greater uptake of the repayment scheme. Criminalising those students with overdue repayments on their loan is not a justifiable deterrent," says Haines

"It is also disappointing to see the Government reduce the student loan and allowance stand-down period for permanent residents to three years. The removal of this support is inherently unfair and will effect 930 students a year on average. Education is a right and trapping people in low skilled employment is detrimental to society. Pacifica people will be disproportionately effected by the Government increasing barriers regarding access to education.

Overall the Government will invest $41.2 million dollars in 2013 and 2014 into managing the Governments investments in the Tertiary Education Sector (an increase of 21.6%). This is in stark contrast with $24.1 million invested in funding for Tertiary Education Grants and contestable funding (a decrease of 17.3%).

AUSA is concerned for the current and future students who will be affected by these student allowance cuts. Concerns have already been received from currently enrolled students who will be completing studies when the 120 week limit is applied.


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