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Boarding bursaries increase welcomed

4 November 2004

Boarding bursaries increase welcomed

Associate Rural Affairs Minister Damien O'Connor has welcomed a substantial increase to boarding bursaries.

"The 16 per cent increase means more rural New Zealanders will have access to top quality education," Mr O'Connor said. "It's another way this government's working to put rural people on an equal footing with those living in urban areas."

Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced the increase today. Boosting boarding bursaries to $2, 725 per student per year, it's the second increase this year. The first - of 17 per cent in February - was the first in ten years.

Altogether, the value of the boarding bursary will have increased 37 per cent this year, from $1990 to $2725. An estimated 2,650 students receive such bursaries.

"In making these changes, we've listened to the concerns of rural people, who've argued for some time that significant increases in school boarding fees over the years have made it more difficult to send their children to boarding school.

"Rural people welcomed the February increase, but said another was needed to offset rising boarding fees. We've now bought the bursary more in line with fees.

"What this means is that isolated rural families will no longer face undue costs in ensuring good education for their children."

Today's announcement represents an extra $4.47 million investment over the next four years, bringing the government's total investment to $32.15 million over four years.

Mr Mallard is also working to ensure the bursaries go to families who really need them. He's asked the Ministry of Education to work with rural communities and key sector groups to review eligibility criteria. This will take place over the next few months.

ENDS

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