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February 28, 2005 | by  | in Opinion |
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VUWSA Welfare Services 2005:

VUWSA (Victoria University of Wellington Students association) is your students’ association. One of the main things that your students’ association does for you at university is offer Welfare services. Since the introduction of fees and cuts to the student allowance in the 1980s and 1990s many students have found it harder going to study. Most students are forced to borrow thousands of dollars to live, and many are forced to work low—paid, long-hour jobs to survive university.

As a response, VUWSA provides a number of welfare services to students who are hard up.

Food bank: ?VUWSA runs a food bank, which gives out food parcels on a personal need basis throughout the year. Students in need are allowed up to three parcels a year. If your cupboards are empty owing to problems receiving money from StudyLink, or you are facing financial hardship, then come down to the ground floor of the Student Union Building between 12 noon and 2 pm. You can fill out a form, have a talk to the Welfare Vice President, and pick up a parcel.

Student Hardship Fund:?All students pay a levy into the Hardship Fund, which then gives out money to financially troubled students through an application process. This is run by the university with help and input from VUWSA. If you are having problems with money – and let’s face it, who isn’t? – then you can apply to the Hardship Fund. Grants are given out via the Hardship Committee, so if you want to apply (or take advantage of its budgeting advice), contact Barbara Scelly at the Student Finance Advisory Service.

•14 Kelburn Parade (behind the Careers Service in the courtyard area). Phone: 463-6644.
Maria from Student Finance is situated part time hours at Pipitea/Te Aro campus & there is also support at WCE. They also get involved with Studylink issues.

Studylink:
StudyLink helps with your financial costs while you study. The three main products they deal with are…

1. Student Allowance – a weekly payment to help with your living costs while you study full-time.

2. Student Loan – to help with your fees, course related costs and living costs. The student loan has to be paid back with interest.

3. Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship – a weekly payment to help with your living costs when you look for full-time work during a study break of more then three weeks.

You can apply for your Student Allowance, Bursary payment or Student Loan online at HYPERLINK “http://www.studylink.govt.nz” www.studylink.govt.nz, call 0800 88 99 00 or pick up a form. For the Unemployment Benefit you must complete an application form.

If you have an emergency and do not have enough money to meet your necessary costs, they may be able to help you with a grant or extra weekly assistance. For further information about the types of extra help available please contact them on 0800 88 99 00 or visit them at the Hunter Building, Ground Level, they work full time hours during peak periods. They can also give out food grants of up to $200 per year to students.

Dealing with Studylink/WINZ
Although Studylink has improved its processes in getting allowances out to students, there are still often problems where students face delays and have problems getting money to which they are entitled. The Welfare Vice President can help you by advising you of your options, or, if you have further problems, by acting as an advocate for you. If a student is not happy with any decision made by either Studylink or WINZ, the Education Coordinators can help prepare review of decisions made by them.

Stress Free week:

During the study week at the end of the first and second trimesters, VUWSA organises the Stress Free week. This includes free breakfasts at Kelburn, Karori and Pipitea campuses. We also run midnight fests at the Architecture and design School on Vivian St, and provide free massages for students around the four campuses. VUWSA recognises that exam time is often a very stressful time for students. Over the past couple of years this has been very popular with students and we look forward to repeating this again in 2005.

Unite Union:

While you are studying at Victoria University you can get free membership of Unite Union through VUWSA. Unite provides support and advocacy for students who are working, and can also negotiate collective contracts on your site. They also can help you with any other problems that you maybe facing on the job.
If you want to contact unite ring Ph 385 2529, or email: gracemillar@paradise.net.nz

If you have any problems or questions please come into VUWSA to find out more. We are always happy to help.
Nick Kelly, Welfare Vice-President: Ph 463 6985, E-mail: wvp@vuwsa.org.nz

Education Co-ordinators:
Nicki Wilford: Ph 463 6983 E-mail: Nicki.Wilford@vuwsa.org.nz

Sandra Crews: Ph 463 6984 E-mail: Sandra.Crews@vuwsa.org.nz

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