Give postgrads a chance

The Otago Daily Times is today reporting figures from the Ministry of Education that show that, as a result of the Government’s cuts to student allowances, an extra 5140 student will be forced to borrow money through the student loan scheme for living costs – or be more reliant on borrowing than before.

On average, these postgraduate students will have to borrow an additional $4610.89 this year, in addition to what they have to borrow for fees.

Many of these students will be unable to survive on the amount that they can borrow alone, because this is lower than is available through allowances. Some students will be able to pick-up part-time work to help, but for many, the time commitments of their study means this isn’t an option and they’ll be left will little choice but to drop out.

Cutting student allowances to postgraduates was announced in Budget 2012 and came into effect this year. It means that all students studying towards a postgraduate diploma, Masters or PhD will not be able to receive a student allowance.

This is a short-sighted policy that flies in the face of Government plans to rein in student debt. The Ministry’s figures show that the changes to student allowances will add an extra $23.7 million on to the national student debt this year.

It will also act as a huge disincentive to students to undertake postgraduate-level study in New Zealand – driving many talented graduates overseas and worsening skill shortages in key areas.

Just in time for o-week, we’ve set up an online submission form to get people to email Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce, as a way to share how this policy change is effecting them and calling on him to reinstate student allowances for postgraduates.

We’re also working on a Member’s bill to reverse this policy change and reinstate student allowances for postgraduate students.Take a minute to have your say and tell Steven Joyce what you think about this policy – submission form here.

6 thoughts on “Give postgrads a chance

  1. Can people over age 54 even access living costs on the loan – they will have to complete post graduate study part-time, or out of their savings.

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  2. SPC, if they study part-time they will not be eligible for loans for fees either.

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  3. It will also act as a huge disincentive to students to undertake postgraduate-level study in New Zealand – driving many talented graduates overseas and worsening skill shortages in key areas.

    While I don’t like the policy, I can’t agree with this analysis.

    Post grad here is still very cheap compared to offshore – I’m saying this as someone who will pay 40k for it.

    Talented grads will always be able to get scholarships.

    Extremely talented grads will always be able to get international scholarships.

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  4. solkta, it is course costs one does not qualify for if you study part-time. You still get fees costs covered on the loan.

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  5. “. . . as a way to share how this policy change is effecting them and calling on him to reinstate student allowances for postgraduates.”

    *affecting

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  6. I one is over the age of 54 eligibility for living costs is also denied with this government policy change. I was invited back to apply for the post graduate program from my school here in Dunedin but I am unable to avail myself of this offer because of this policy change.
    Just because one attains the magic age of 55 doesn’t signify that they can suddenly sustain themselves in study without assistance. I have been a manual worker much of my life on either side of being a sole parent and perhaps it is bad genes and a lot of genuine spade work but my knee is no good for that anymore.
    Being poor is the pits. It is said that when you reach the age of 50 you are invisible. I add to that, if you are poor as well, you may as well not exist.
    In case it is wondered, I am not in this state because of a misspent life but because of lack of opportunity and contacts and health difficulties disrupting an earlier career.
    A universal income would help all of us. Research shows that technology is is no longer, on the whole, creating jobs, it is doing away with them. The top of the curve has been met with that one.

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