by Holly Walker
Following my post last week of a psychology student’s account about how the changes to postgraduate allowances have affected them, I have received more stories from affected students that I feel compelled to share. Here is another one of many:
I am in the last 6 months of my unpaid internship and receive $173.56 per week from the student loan system- which I am very grateful for, seeing I have no realistic time in which to have a part-time job outside of this internship. On top of the 40 hours per week of the internship (I know, I know 32 hours is the required), I have an additional ~12-16 hours of classwork).
The ONLY way that I can afford to do this is that my parents are letting me live in their home rent free.
Because of this, I do not qualify for the only other (minimal) additional monies I might be eligible for (supplementary living costs)- so I can barely contribute to my parents food and rent (even though I want to-they aren’t wealthy).
In addition I have registration board fees, transportation needs, medical expenses etc etc.
On the other hand, I realise that as a country we must limit our debt. I understand that the student allowance is a money sucker, and that it is a huge saving limiting it to under-grad students. However, I would argue that it is the post-grad students who are in greater need for the allowance. I DID get the student allowance for a few years in my under-grad, and to be honest, those were the years that I could have worked- demands on workload are limited and course requirements minimal.
As Mr Joyce suggested, once qualified I have the possibility of earning more than the average wage- but to earn the “big bucks” I will need to move to Australia or elsewhere- most NZ psychologists aren’t in it for the money! That in itself creates an on-going saga with interest write off’s etc.
Perhaps the student allowance can be adjusted for 3-4th year students and post grads. Let the first two years of under grad ‘weed out’ the ones who really want their education, and the ones who are there to continue to focus on their studies!
Just one perspective..