15 August 2017
Better financial support is good for students and good for the country
The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) is welcoming public support for increased financial assistance
for students. A Newshub-Reid Research poll released last night showed that 68% agreed that students should get more
support from the Government, including 53% of National party voters.
‘All we’re asking for is enough to live on. Most students don’t get an allowance, and even when they do, it barely
covers rent – let alone other basic needs,’ says National President Jonathan Gee.
Only one in three of students are eligible for the Student Allowance, which is also abated based on parental income. The
maximum level of Student Allowance is $178.81, plus an Accommodation Benefit of up to $40. Students who cannot get the
allowance, can instead borrow a student loan of $176.86 for living costs. It is also not enough to live on. The average
rent for a room in Wellington is $200 per week, in central Auckland it is $250.
‘A third of the total student loan balance is for living costs, and it has ongoing ramifications for borrowers:
deterring further study, depressing disposable income, delaying saving and home ownership.’
‘Debt has a massive impact on our future social workers, nurses, teachers and mechanics, and reducing the pressure on
them has flow on benefits for everyone.’
Long repayment times means that the student loan scheme also costs the government, meaning the switch from loans to
grants costs less than it first appears. There will be savings in the student loan scheme when students move from
borrowing to getting a student allowance.
‘Students, their parents and their grandparents, and intending students, tell us they want enough to live while they
study, to address the acute financial crisis that students currently face – and to graduate with less debt. The poll
confirms that the rest of the country agrees.’
‘It’s time for all parties to respond to this call. Better financial support is good for students, and good for the
We stand for opportunity, for all.
NZUSA is the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations, the national body that represents New Zealand's students'
associations and the interests of New Zealand's 400,000 students at universities, polytechnics and in trades training.
We conduct original research, advocate to Government and through the media, and support New Zealand's students'
associations to be more effective on behalf of their members. We advocate alongside Te Mana Akonga – The National Māori
Students' Association, and Tertiary Women New Zealand – The NZUSA Women's Caucus.
Since 1929, we've believed in a society rich in opportunity, where anyone from anywhere can become any thing. We
support accessible, affordable quality public tertiary education.