It won’t just be New Year’s Eve celebrations causing headaches for mature students as they wake up tomorrow to the realisation the Government no longer wants them studying, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says.
“From tomorrow, anyone over 40 will not be eligible for allowances if they have received 120 weeks (effectively three years) of student support at any point in their lifetime. This is particularly harsh on anyone trying to re-train later in life.
“For those aged 65 or older it is even worse. From tomorrow they will be ineligible for any student allowance support at all.
“It’s also bad news for migrants who will have to wait three years rather than the previous two years before being eligible for allowances and loans.
“These changes come on top of previous cuts to allowances and loans, including preventing over 55-year-olds receiving student loan living costs and the abolition of student allowances for postgraduate students.
“Postgraduate numbers have already dropped at several universities and the worst is yet to come. The full effect of these cuts will be felt in the coming year with a 12 month extension for those with dependents expiring tomorrow.
“This all adds up to Steven Joyce’s version of the 70’s TV show Logan’s Run. He simply does not see the value of life-long learning or people retraining as they get older.
“This is particularly wrong in times of high unemployment and today’s reality that people change jobs a number of times during their working life.
“It is mean spirited and will have a negative economic and social effect.
“Labour believes student support is an important part of the investment in tertiary education that benefits all New Zealanders.
“We will review all of National’s changes to student loans and allowances to give as many people as possible help to retrain and contribute to New Zealand,” Grant Robertson says.