Financial support from parents is down the latest Tertiary Student Income and Expenditure Survey reveals.
In 2010 almost a fifth of students received money from their parents for help with thing like rent and other bills, and for spending money.
That figure is down to just 14.85% in the latest survey report, released today.
The New Zealand Union of Students’ Association president Rory McCourt says the statistics show parents are less willing or able to subsidise even the basics for their children through tertiary study.
“Parental support was once an important part of many students’ budgets. What this research shows is that those days have gone. It shows that the Government’s argument that state support is supposed to supplement money from parents is clearly absolutely crap for over 85% of students.”
McCourt says the union recognises how much support, financial and otherwise, families put into seeing their children succeed.
“There’s no doubt that there are families out there sacrificing their all for their kids to get through uni or polytech. With wages stagnant and the cost of living on the rise: clearly fewer and fewer families can afford to give money at the end of the week. It’s time the student support system acknowledged that reality.”
McCourt says the solution was a liveable allowance for all students and removing parental income means-testing of students’ parents. The parental income threshold was frozen by the Government in 2012 and frozen again at this year’s budget for further four years, taking allowance eligibility away from about 4,000 students.
“You’ve now got to be earning less than half the average wage for your kids to be eligible for an allowance nowadays. Allowances are supposed to be for everyone but the rich –what a joke that is in 2015.”
Gary Esler, who is a Co-ordinator and Lecturer in the Automotive Programme at UCOL Masterton, says “I have found students really suffer financially…and this does create a high level of anxiety for them. Students are better off on the unemployment or sickness benefit and they get more help and allowances on those benefits. They should be getting more money with student allowance for studying and trying to improve their situation, not less income.”
Mr McCourt says students would be very happy to get as much as the dole and associated housing supplements. “As it is, being a student is becoming just too hard for a growing number of us.”
About the Research:
The NZUSA Tertiary Student Income and Expenditure Survey has been running for 30 years and has a solid reputation. For the latest report 5,000 students were surveyed across the country with a representative sample of universities, polytechnics, internal, distance and age-varied students. The margin of error at the standard 95% confidence level is between 1.36% and 1.94%, depending on the particular question (not all questions were relevant to all participants and therefore the sample size varies across the study).