Holly Walker

Living costs not enough to live on

by Holly Walker

Earlier this week, I asked the Tertiary Education Minister about the significant impact his cut to postgraduate student allowances could have on the future psychology workforce in New Zealand.

It was prompted by research from the New Zealand Psychological Society and the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists that raised serious concerns about the effect that his decision to remove access to allowances for postgraduate students was having on those studying towards a psychology qualification. Psychologists require postgraduate level study to complete their professional registration.

The Minister refused to engage and played his same old card – that students can borrow living costs, and so don’t need an allowance. Except this argument ignores a real flaw – students can only borrow $173.56 a week. A story out today shows that this amount has only increased by $23 since 1999!

This is simply not enough for students to live on – especially for those who are unable to work to supplement it because of large course loads, internship requirements, or for parents juggling studying and looking after their kids.

The Minister has made it clear that the amount students can borrow to live on will not be getting a boost in this year’s budget.

Meanwhile, I’m hearing countless stories from students who are struggling to get by.

National talks about making New Zealand a more innovative, internationally competitive nation. At the same time, they’re stripping away support for the people that would do just that.

Published in Society & Culture by Holly Walker on Fri, February 21st, 2014   

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