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Students need more financial help: NZUSA

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/05/2017

The government is being urged to offer greater support to tertiary students in next week's budget.

The call comes after a Unitech survey showing one-third of students have seriously considered dropping out because of financial or other pressures.

For Maori students, the proportion who have contemplated withdrawing before course completion is nearly half.

The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations says there is a clear message for Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.

It says the $218 student allowance (including accommodation benefit) should be increased so it at least covers the rent of the 40 per cent of students living in Auckland, where the average price of a room is more than $250.

National president Jonathan Gee says too many students are struggling to afford even the basic necessities of life.

"Tertiary study should be a way out of poverty, not a way into it," he said.

The survey also found that more than half of students questioned (55 per cent) had not had enough income to meet their living costs at some stage in the past 12 months.

Almost a third (31 per cent) reported that they regularly went without food or other necessities because they couldn't afford them.

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