The New Zealand Union of Students’ Association (NZUSA) strongly supports the Green Party’s demands that the Government restore the post graduate allowance before the upcoming election.
NZUSA believes that, by not restoring the post graduate allowance, the Government has broken their 2017 election promise.
NZUSA President Isabella Lenihan-Ikin says, “post graduate students have been betrayed by the Government’s inaction on restoring the post graduate student allowance”.
“We are hearing stories from post graduate students across the country who are having to work multiple jobs in order to finance the cost of living whilst they study. Post graduate study is a full-time commitment and having to balance working is unfair and detrimental to their wellbeing.”
“The absence of a post graduate student allowance also acts as a barrier to students wanting to begin post graduate study, including those wanting to retrain or those wanting to continue studying after completely an undergraduate degree.”
MJ Kivalu, a Doctor of Business Administration student at the University of Otago is one of the students having to juggle multiple jobs to whilst studying towards her doctorate.
“My post graduate journey has been a hard one in terms of trying to balance work and study. When I started my programme, it didn't qualify for doctorate scholarships with stipends because it's a Professional Doctorate rather than a Doctor of Philosophy. So I had to get a job to cover my expenses while I studied in Dunedin. I needed money to cover rent, power, internet, fees, printing, food and laundry costs. I've been working two jobs since while studying, just to cover my expenses.”
“Using most of my time for work has influenced my studies - I have less time and even though my jobs are flexible, I still have to put in more work for them in order to get the job done and get paid” she says.
“If the post graduate allowance was reinstated, I wouldn't have to work - I could use my time to actually work towards my thesis. I wouldn't have to stress about bills and food. The government still hasn't reinstated the post graduate allowance, but the cost of tertiary education or living costs in New Zealand hasn't decreased either. It feels like New Zealand is purposely turning into an elitist country, that I can't afford to stay in even though I'm a New Zealand citizen.”
NZUSA President Isabella Lenihan-Ikin says, “the reinstatement of post graduate student allowance is a vital step towards a barrier free education for all New Zealanders.”