Budget 2012 will force students out of university – or put them into more debt
Thousands of students attempting to complete degrees may be unable to finish without going into debt due to today’s
The Government wants to make students pay: part time students who work will pay a bit more on their student loan;
student allowances for many full time students – some who study extramurally - will be cut, as will funding for
childhood education that can be used while parents study. Part time students are also paying for books and travel to
contact courses and older students have to borrow to live, as will post graduate students. The average working family
with a student partner will be $11,000 a year worse off.
“Today’s budget does not create an environment in which quality education can flourish,” says Ralph Springett, President
of the Extramural Students’ Society.
“In recent times, less is spent on student support each year to the extent where our students are questioning whether
to go back to university next year to complete their qualifications”.
Students who wish to undertake postgraduate qualifications – which will be the minimum required to train as a primary
school teacher – will have to borrow to live if they don’t also work. These students (except those studying Bachelor
degrees with honours) will be unable to get a student allowance.
“The government seems determined to prevent as many as possible from studying part time, and penalising all post
graduate students.” Mr Springett says. “If the government’s own tertiary education strategy requires people to achieve
at higher levels how can students do that unsupported?
Mr Springett says the Government needs to take a good hard look at its Tertiary Education Strategy, which focuses on
full time study; but also focuses on increasing Maori and Pacifica graduate numbers, many of whom study part-time.
“The budget says one thing, the Tertiary Education Strategy, another. If the government’s strategy is to have students
studying at the highest level, and to increase the number of Maori and Pasifica graduates, why aren’t students being
supported and encouraged to do so?”
“We are more interested in dampening demand for tertiary study and tackling a blow-out in the cost of student allowances
than educating young people and providing jobs in a growing economy. That’s not a progressive educational strategy –
it’s a bad dream,” Mr. Springett says.