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Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce admitted in Parliament today that 4000 to 5000 students attempting to undertake postgraduate study will lose their student allowances under the changes to the scheme he announced last week, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says.
“There was scant detail in Mr Joyce’s announcement last week, but under questioning today he acknowledged that thousands of people undertaking post-graduate study will lose their allowance as a result of the cuts he has proposed.
“That is thousands of people whose educational future is at risk.
“New Zealand desperately needs more people to take advanced qualifications to help drive sustainable economic growth. Cutting allowances will only jeopardise that. It is back to front thinking,” Grant Robertson said.
“The Minister also admitted that a student who has used up the absolute maximum 200 weeks of student allowance entitlement allowed under his new policy and who is part way through their study will not be supported to finish their degree.
“I was contacted today by a Masters student – just a year away from getting a degree - who simply does not think they will be able to finish their course. What a tragedy for them, and what a waste of investment for New Zealand.”
“This government needs to get its priorities right, and invest in our future by encouraging students to complete postgraduate study, whatever background they come from,” said Grant Robertson.