Students hit by loss of funding

03:00, Jan 16 2013
Lucy Smith
Post-graduate pain: Lucy Smith is working to support herself while studying now that she is unable to get a student allowance.

Marlborough students are questioning their career choices after a number of changes to student loans and allowances by the Government.

One of the most concerning changes means post-graduate study can no longer be fully funded by a student allowance, and extra cash has to be found elsewhere.

Lucy Smith, 25, of Blenheim, enrolled in a graduate diploma in teaching through Victoria University, via correspondence.

To get by, Miss Smith will have to work 10-15 hours a week at Blenheim's health and Asian food shop Alpha & Omega, and use $170 a week from the living costs component of the student loan scheme.

She did not realise the rules had changed until after she enrolled, and would have thought twice if she had known earlier.

"I would have given it [post-graduate study] way more thought. Lucky mine is only for 10 months but if it was longer, I probably would've turned it down.


"No-one can live on $170 per week, plus you can't work full-time when studying full-time.

"It annoys me because we've already proven that we're academically driven by our undergrad degree achievements, but then it's like they're trying to completely make us lose interest and not want to keep achieving," she said.

Emma Phillips, 21, also from Blenheim, has just completed her third year in human nutrition at Otago University, and has been accepted into their masters of dietetics course.

Ms Phillips said a masters in dietetics had been her goal since she began studying, and the fact that she could no longer receive the student allowance to fund her masters meant she would probably have to rely on her parents, something she was reluctant to do.

She was unable to work part-time during her studies, as she had to do voluntary work as part of her degree, and was told she could not work during the next two years, due to the intensive 8am-5pm daily schedule of the masters degree.

The 2012 Budget introduced a number of changes to the student loan and allowance scheme, which can be viewed on the Studylink website.

The Marlborough Express