Students deeply concerned at support cuts 3 May 2012
- Awards showcase amazing New Zealanders News
- Sick leave expected to increase during World Cup Sport
- Brownlee Leads Aviation Mission To Shanghai News
- Environmental edge to Auckland’s RWC 2011 prep Sport
- NZ migration bolstered by British invasion Migration
- Sludge Report #192: The Naked Budget Columns
- Budget provides $321m for RS&T activities News
- Unemployment rate falls from 7.1 to 6 percent Recruitment
- Licensing To Cut Out Cowboy Advisers Migration
- Government Widens Drought Assistance News
Students concern at recent changes to student support has been worsened by today’s announcements. Minister of Tertiary Education Stephen Joyce has confirmed the following changes:
• The recent incentives for voluntary student loan repayments will be rescinded;
• An earlier signalled rise the student loan repayment threshold, moving it to 12%;
• An earlier-announced freeze in the parental income threshold for the student allowance has been extended to four years; and
• Student allowances will only be available in the first four years of tertiary study.
Earlier, students had expressed dismay at the increase in the student loan repayment threshold. On Wednesday, President of Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA), Arena Williams, noted that “The current repayment rate for student loan borrowers of 10% is already high. Graduates earn less than the mean full time wage in their first five - ten years of work. The system punishes people who're trying hard to get ahead in their careers and don't have disposable income."
Moving the repayment rate to 12% means that New Zealand’s repayment rate is now three times the base rate of Australia, and will affect not only future, but also present students. With wages currently well below those in Australia, students fear that more graduates will head overseas. “New Zealand wages are already low. To effectively institute a 2% tax increase on anyone earning over $19,084 per year will inevitably result in more graduates heading overseas to ensure they can earn a wage which leaves them with some disposable income”, said Ms Williams.
The changes to the student allowances scheme are also of grave concern. Student allowances provide support to students from low-income backgrounds For a student under 24 to receive the allowance, their parents combined income must be less than $55,026. Today’s changes amount to a cut in real terms. Freezing the threshold so that it doesn’t account for inflation risks shutting deserving students out of tertiary education, according to Ms Williams. "These cuts to student allowances will limit eligibility. Simply put, students who have the potential to achieve top results in tertiary education won't be able to study. These kids lose and their communities lose."
Research has found that up to 15% of students are in dire financial difficulty. "We are frequently approached by students seeking financial support and even food parcels," said Sam Bookman, Education Vice-President of AUSA. "Even at the full allowance of $206.73, it's very difficult to afford rent, food and textbooks. Everyone from the University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor to the Prime Minister's own Chief Science Advisor have expressed concern that Auckland University's international ranking is slipping. However, if students are placed under this kind of financial stress, it's inevitable that their grades and research are being affected"
There is also considerable concern at the previously unannounced intention to restrict student allowances to only the first four years of tuition. “Many University courses are longer than four years,” said Ms Williams. “The effect of this announcement is to discourage low-income students from entering courses such as medicine and optometry, as well as conjoint degrees.”
Concern has also been expressed at the effect the budget may have on Maori and Pacific students. "Universities around the country are putting in efforts to recruit higher numbers of Maori and Pacific students," noted Pania Newton, co-President of Nga Tauira Maori, Auckland University Maori Students' Association. "It's unfair to tell these students that they should be entering tertiary education to do better for their families and communities, but not providing the support required to get them there."
According to Ms Williams, the changes will undermine New Zealand's reputation as a country where fairness is rewarded, and equality of access is strived for. "It's the government's role to facilitate equitable access. New Zealanders won't accept a tertiary system which only allows kids from rich families to succeed. If we need to pay for allowances to get clever kids through so that they can contribute to the economy that my generation will be left to manage, then that's money well spent."
The recent announcements follow a pattern of gradual reduction in Government support for students groups. Past cuts have targeted solo parents, older students, recent migrants and those in long-term study.
 Baseline Report of the Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand (GLSNZ).
18 Jan 2017 News
16 JANUARY, 2017New Zealand and Singapore’s Defence Ministers Gerry Brownlee and Dr Ng Eng Hen today observed Exercise Thunder... more
18 Jan 2017 News
18 JANUARY, 2017Twenty temporary housing units at the Rawhiti Domain used to support families through the Christchurch earthquakes are... more
18 Jan 2017 Business News
8 JANUARY, 2017More local businesses looking to expand into Korea will benefit from the latest round of tariff reductions under the... more
21 Nov 2016 Lifestyle
Emirates Team New Zealand EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND CLOSES IN 3rd POSITION THE LOUIS VUITTON AMERICA’S CUP WORLD SERIES
14 Nov 2016 Property
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 14 November 2016 10:28 AM NZ house prices gain 11% in October, driven by sales of higher value homes By... more
11 Nov 2016 Property
Article - BusinessDesk Thursday 10 November 2016 04:04 PM RBNZ sees pressures building in Auckland construction sector By Paul ... more
8 Dec 2016 Migration
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has welcomed news that New Zealand is attracting a higher level of quality international... more
1 Nov 2016 Migration
New Zealand Government Hon Paul GoldsmithMinister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs 1 November 2016 Changes to Financial Markets... more
18 Jan 2017 Travel & Tourism
12 JANUARY, 2017Tourism spending continued to grow throughout most regions in the year to November 2016, providing a solid base ahead... more
18 Jan 2017 Rugby
15 January 2017 Counties Manukau are national sevens rugby champions. In a stunning double effort, Counties Manukau have been... more
11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf more
10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome more
8 Dec 2016 Appointments
Hon. Murray McCully 7 December, 2016 High Commissioner to India announced Foreign Minister Murray McCully today... more
8 Dec 2016 Recruitment
Hon. Paula Bennett, Hon. Michael Woodhouse, Hon. Louise Upston 24 November, 2016 The Government will update the Equa... more
2 Nov 2016 Recruitment
Article - BusinessDesk Tuesday 01 November 2016 04:42 PM Fisher Funds hunts for new head to replace founder Carmel Fisher By Paul ... more