INDEPENDENT NEWS

Students need widened access to allowances now

Published: Mon 8 Sep 2003 11:10 PM
Students need widened access to allowances now, not in two years time.
The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association (ATSA) is disappointed with the discussion document titled ‘Student Support in New Zealand’. For a document that has been over a year in the making, it offers nothing that is new. It is little more than a state of the nation report culled from public documents and briefing papers.
The government states that ‘priorities need to be set and choices made’. "Students and their families have been clear in their statements over the last four years that the priority must be to address student financial hardship,” ATSA President Julie Pettett stated. “If the government continues to ignore the obvious, New Zealanders may well make choices at the 2005 election which will give this government some real hardship, of the political kind.”
ATSA calls on the government to move quickly to increase the parental increase thresholds for access to student allowances. “There is something fundamentally wrong with the student allowance system when students are forced into student loan debt to eat, and when parents are prevented from saving for their superannuation because they must help pay their son’s or daughter’s rent,” Pettett concluded. “While a review of all student support options is a worthwhile exercise, it is not an excuse to delay yet again the promised changes to student allowances

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