INDEPENDENT NEWS

Student Allowance Regulations Penalise Families

Published: Tue 29 Oct 2002 12:51 AM
Student Allowance Regulations Penalise Families
The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association (ATSA) research findings indicate that students from families with more than one sibling in full time study may suffer disadvantage because of the current student allowance parental-income thresholds. This disparity needs to addressed as part of changes to the allowance system.
One respondent from the research clearly identified the problem in her comment –
“Mum and Dad felt a lot of guilt that all four of her kids took out loans – they just couldn’t support us…I recall one Christmas I’d returned from university and met up with my old school mate’s Mum and she asked if I had a loan (I was with my mum) I said yes – ‘the full amount’ and she berated my mother for not supporting me! Mum felt awful and cried in the car on the way home.” [27 year old, Total borrowed $40,000, Bachelor Degree [25].
“ATSA recognises and appreciates that the government will be improving access to student allowances in this term,” said Julie Pettett, President of ATSA. “We urge the Minister to also amend the regulations so they recognise the needs of families with more than one child in full time study”.
ATSA RECOMMENDATIONS
‘Substantially increase access to Student Allowances. Eligibility based on parental incomes should not be the basis for assessing need for any student. Personal needs should be the sole criterion. Progress should always be towards the achievable goal of a Universal Education Wage (Universal Allowance) for all students.’
2 Student Allowance income thresholds should be pro-rata increased when two or more siblings from the same family are in full-time tertiary study.

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