21 November 2017
Students welcome boost to financial support
The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement today that they will deliver on their promise to introduce a $50 a week boost to student allowances and loan living cost entitlements.
‘This is big news for students. The boost will be the first substantial increase to student support in over a decade’, says newly re-elected National President Jonathan Gee.
NZUSA’s 2017 Income and Expenditure Report found that median student spending is currently $300.28 per week. Most of this spending went towards rising rent prices, followed by food and other living expenses.
‘All we’ve been asking for is enough to live on. A $50 increase will mean that current students can focus more on their academic success rather than economic survival. It will also provide an added incentive for prospective students who have been deterred from tertiary study due to high costs.’
Gee warned however that the boost should not be a signal to landlords to raise rent prices.
‘The boost does not mean that students will have more disposable income. The $50 increase means that students will have a bit more left for food after paying their rent.’
NZUSA looks forward to working with Minister of Education Hon Chris Hipkins to take further steps to make tertiary education more affordable. This includes raising the parental income threshold for student allowance eligibility, so that fewer students have to borrow in order to live.
‘With only a third of students eligible to access the allowance, the majority of students are still expected to borrow in order to live. We look forward to working with Minister Hipkins to reduce the debt burden on students, which has now surpassed $15 billion.’