INDEPENDENT NEWS

Student support changes should help students

Published: Fri 28 May 2004 09:46 AM
Student support changes should help students, but is it enough?
A budget delivering broad changes to social policy and some much needed reforms to student support should help those in tertiary education.
“It is great that the Government has picked up on the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA) recommendations to raise parental income thresholds for eligibility to student allowances, for the first time in 12 years.
The level at which a student allowance will start abating will rise from a combined parental income of $28,080 to $33 696 in 2005.
However ATSA would ask if the changes are enough to target those greatest in need.
“ATSA would have liked to have seen more movement at the lower end of the thresholds this would have been more in line with the range of the Governments statement of Tertiary Education Priorities one of which is to remove barriers to access for learners from low income backgrounds,” says Julie Pettett ATSA President.
Whilst the changes permit more students to draw a student allowance, for many students this will only partially meet their cost of living while studying.
Although this is a good first step, the tertiary ‘Spend Up’ only amounts to 0.7% of the budgeted surplus annually and ATSA would ask if this is a good way to look after the knowledge economy.

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