Students deeply concerned at support cuts 3 May 2012
- Minister to attend TPP Ministers’ Meeting News
- New Zealand First Spokespersons Roles News
- NZ Government Urged to Do More to Fight Ebola News
- Language expert to lecture at the University of Auckland News
- Wairarapa’s needs assessments a one stop shop News
- 1000th school connects to fast internet News
- Israel, the US Congress and treason News
- Hamilton Boys’ High win ChemQuest …again News
- IGIS Advisory Panel members appointed News
- BNZ CEO Healy calls on business leaders to help improve NZ Business
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• The recent incentives for voluntary student loan repayments will be rescinded;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).
24 Oct 2014 News
Ottawa resident says shock turning to anger and hard questions being asked about how gunman got so far. A New Zealander in Ottawa was... more
24 Oct 2014 Business News
By Fiona Rotherham Oct. 24 (BusinessDesk) - Sky Network Television, the country's dominant pay-TV operator, will launch a new $20 a... more
24 Oct 2014 Food & Wine
Fresh from two consecutive MKR People's Choice Challenge wins, Neena and Belinda favour wholesome and earthy flavours and aim to... more
24 Oct 2014 Lifestyle
New Zealand comedians Guy Montgomery (Billy T winner, 7 Days) and Tim Batt (Radio Hauraki, 7 Days) have broken the world record... more
24 Oct 2014 Property
Aucklanders living in the ‘hottest suburbs’ could be the big losers, while businesses will come out winners Rate rises... more
15 Oct 2014 Property
The Resource Management Act needs to explicitly recognise the importance of New Zealanders’ access to more affordable housing... more
24 Oct 2014 Migration
New Zealand has been named the best place to raise a child in the Raising Children Abroad annual league table. According to the HSBC... more
24 Oct 2014 Travel & Tourism
Giving flyers an Unexpected Journey! Elijah Wood and Sir Peter Jackson star in 'epic' Hobbit themed Air New Zealand safety video Air... more
25 Oct 2014 Sport
The Black Sticks Women have won 1-0 against the USA, setting up a series decider in the final test tomorrow at the Trust House... more
24 Oct 2014 Rugby
Scotland coach Vern Cotter clears out old guard and makes Grant Gilchrist captain for November Test series No place for Barclay,... more
24 Oct 2014 Opinion
After all the delays and stonewalling, the St James finally looks to have a future, even if it’s not clear what it will be Let's... more
23 Oct 2014 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the tokenism of New Zealand‘s role against Islamic State Was John Key born lucky or what? Political... more
24 Oct 2014 People
Veteran weathercaster Jim Hickey has announced his retirement today, saying is was a tough decision. "I feel like I'm subbing off at... more
24 Oct 2014 Recruitment
New Zealand paramedics are being poached by Britain's busiest ambulance service. Interviews were held in Auckland on Friday and... more