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New study assistance for beneficiaries

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development and Employment
Minister of Youth Affairs

2 December 2009 Media Release

New study assistance for beneficiaries

Some beneficiaries undertaking certain types of tertiary study will be eligible to borrow an additional $500 per year to help with their costs, says the Minister for Social Development and Employment.

People receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit, Widow’s Benefit, Invalid’s Benefit or Emergency Maintenance Allowance will be eligible for up to $500 recoverable assistance from Work and Income to help with their study costs.

The recoverable assistance will be available between 1 February 2010 through to 31 January 2011.

Paula Bennett says the loan will only be available to those who are studying to be nurses, doctors, midwives, vets and teachers.

“This effectively provides beneficiaries who are studying level 4 and above to access an interest free loan of $500 a year on top of the $1,000 student loan they can access for study costs.

“The course related component of the student loan is a contribution towards the real costs of study. But people on benefits often have childcare or disability costs which make study more expensive for them.

“Many people have written to me and made a compelling case for increasing the amount of money beneficiaries can borrow.

“The recoverable assistance will not have to be repaid until the person finishes their course or goes off benefit, which ever comes first.

“I want to see whether this loan meets the needs of this group so I’ve limited it to one year at this stage. I’ll also be considering the best way to support sole parents into education and training, in light of our intention to introduce part-time work obligations for DPB sole parents,” Paula Bennett says.

ENDS

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