Minister pleased with successful StudyLink peak season
Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows has today congratulated StudyLink staff on a highly successful Student Allowance and Loan peak season.
“StudyLink faces an incredibly challenging workload, with more than 300,000 applications for financial support to process in only a few months,” says Mr Borrows.
“This year StudyLink put in place a collection of changes designed to smooth out the pressure of the peak season. This included increasing the number of permanent staff, improving training for temporary staff and being more proactive in their communication with students.
“The result of this was thousands of applications sorted earlier in the summer and a 55 per cent reduction in complaints – these are indicators which tell me this has been a real success.”
One of the most significant changes came from a suggestion from the New Zealand University Students Associations (NZUSA). This led to setting a target of 16 December for applications.
“More than 90,000 students applied by the 16th of December, which was 46 per cent more than the same time last year. Eighty five per cent of these applications were finalised by the major tertiary start date of 3 March with the balance requiring further information to be provided.
“This meant more students could start the academic year able to focus on their studies knowing they had their finances sorted,” says Mr Borrows.
“StudyLink prioritised these early applications, which really underlined the benefits for students who took action in response to the StudyLink messages to apply by 16 December.
“The constructive way that NZUSA has worked with StudyLink this peak season has made a real difference to students across the country, and I want to thank them for their help,” says Mr Borrows.
By the end of March, more than 170,000 students had applied for 2014 study with over 336,000 applications finalised. Having more applications in and finalised earlier meant that fewer students needed assistance at the last minute.