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Students forced to think twice about further study

Published: 9:32PM Tuesday June 05, 2012 Source: ONE News

Some post-graduate students say they might have to re-think whether they can afford to continue studying following the Government's latest cuts to student loans and allowances.

The Government announced in the Budget it would keep student loans interest free, but would restrict student allowances to just the first four years of study and raise the repayment rate for student loans from 10% to 12%.

Psychology students from Victoria University told TV ONE's Close Up the changes would greatly influence whether or not they could continue with their post-graduate study.

"There's a chance I will have to dismiss the last six years, and walk out of the course with one year to go to finish," one said.

Another said there is no way people could complete the course without some kind of financial assistance.

"The programme itself has said that it is unfeasible to work in your final year.

"I'm going to have to really rethink whether I can complete my study, and it will mean that the last six years for me will be down the drain."

Student rallies protesting against the changes in Auckland in the past month have brought streets to a standstill and resulted in a heavy-handed response from police.

Further actions has been planned in Auckland and Wellington.

However, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the changes are fair.

"We've got a very generous student support system in New Zealand, so those students would have a 70% tuition subsidy right through their study," he told Close Up.

"We are in financially difficult times, we have to choose where we make our investments."

New Zealand University Students' Association president Pete Hodkinson said students do not expect to be handed perks.

"There's quite a common misconception that students are somehow this super-privileged group that sit on the outskirts of society.

"This isn't something that we are talking about as a 'free lunch', we are talking about somebody's education, and an investment."

Hodkinson said funding needs to be invested into areas that will be beneficial to the economy.

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