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Rising rents prompt plea from students

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/04/2017

Students associations are calling for an urgent bump in support payments amid what they say are soaring rental prices in Auckland.

In the last five years, the price of renting a room in a three-bedroom home in the city has risen from $175 to $250 a week, according to the the Union of Students' Associations' 2017 income and Expenditure Report.

The survey takes email-based responses from 1000 students across 11 universities and polytechnics and is conducted every two or three years.

National Student President Jonathan Gee says the $217 students could receive in allowances now did little to provide relief and that student hardship has grown "considerably" worse since 2011.

"That year, the government froze the parental income threshold for eligibility, a significant factor in locking out 24,000 students from having access to the student allowance," he said.

Only a third of full-time students now received allowances, contributing to growing student debt as the rest had to borrow, he said.

The association is calling for the parental income threshold to be unfrozen and the allowance to be raised.

It's report also highlighted concerns that not enough was being done to get students from low-decile high schools into tertiary education, with only a third of graduates from decile 1 to 3 schools attending universities, compared to two-thirds from decile 8 to 10 schools.

The association has asked the government to consider a scholarship for those that are the first in their family to attending a tertiary institution.

Comment has been requested from the tertiary education minister.

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