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Naked students borrow to live

Naked students borrow to live

Students at the University of Auckland will today be begging for essentials, to protest the reality of borrowing to live. A group of students, wearing only towels, will beg to borrow clothing and belongings from other students in exchange for IOUs.

Every year, tens of thousands of students are forced to take on debt in order to study. Currently, students owe over $12,000,000,000 worth of student loan debt, steadily increasing since 2007. Many graduates are left owing $30,000 by the end of their studies. Studies show that such debt has led to considerable hardship for students, forcing many to go overseas in search of higher wages. For many students, student debt plays a part in later life decisions, including whether or not to have children.

“Students are currently the only group in society who are required to borrow to live” said Arena Williams, President of the Auckland University Students’ Association. “The current Studylink allowance is better than nothing, but the reality is that many students who really need it are missing out.”

“What students need is adequate support while at University, and meaningful jobs available at the conclusion of study. Instead, we have seen a net decrease in investment, as well as an alarming youth unemployment rate. Given that the Ministers making these decisions received their tertiary education at no cost, we don’t think it’s too much to ask for.”

The last three years have been difficult for students, with cuts to eligibility to student support for permanent residents, lower-achieving students and those aged over 55. Additionally, the introduction of the Voluntary Student Membership regime has placed students’ associations under severe financial stress, struggling to cope with a dramatic rise in demands on advocacy and welfare services.

Today’s protest caps off a week of antics at the University of Auckland. Earlier this week, students have simulated one billion dollars of student debt, frozen ice sculptures to represent freezing fees, and set up an impromptu foodbank on University grounds.


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