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September 27, 2010 | by  | in News |
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StudyLink Snail-Mail Paper Trail

If Hogwarts had a ‘magical’ StudyLink, the postal owls would be overworked, according to recent student complaints.

Victoria University students spoken to by Salient say that the amount of mail received from StudyLink is overwhelming and often unnecessary.

“I realise that we need to know about our loans,” says one student, “but I always get sent the same letters repeatedly and it gets quite annoying.”

In a media release StudyLink also acknowledged the overwhelming amount of mail sent out to students across New Zealand, however they state that it is necessary.

“Yes, we know, we do send a lot of letters! It’s important that we keep you informed about what’s happening with your student finances.”

VUWSA’s Environmental Officer Zachary Dorner agrees that it is essential for students to be kept updated in regards to their loans, but he criticises the excess paper wastage by StudyLink.

“It’s important to keep students up to date with important information regarding their loans, but government departments often seem a bit slow with keeping up with modern technology.” Dorner says.

“Saving on paper not only helps the environment, but reduces costs to StudyLink, and ultimately on students.”

Students have noticed that they receive StudyLink mail much more frequently than mail from other companies, such as banks.

“It seems like they send out mail at least twice for each dealing I have had with them.”

StudyLink does offer an alternative option for students, who can opt to receive letters online. This was introduced at the beginning of November 2009 in an initiative to help students reduce their carbon footprint.

As of 21 September this year, StudyLink records that there are over 127,000 students who have registered to receive their mail online. StudyLink hopes to see an increase when the remaining forms of correspondence, such as the loan contract, become available online from late October.

StudyLink’s Acting General Manager Rachel Bruce describes the reasoning behind the change as largely environmental.

“One of the key reasons for introducing the online mail service is to reduce the amount of paper we use.

“We are conscious of the environmental impact of paper-based communication.”

Dorner says this is the best way to go environmentally.

“The online letters option is definitely the best—that’s how I get mine. All students should opt for this option from StudyLink, their banks and so on where possible.”

Despite being introduced in November 2009, students are often unaware of the online letter option.

“StudyLink may do better by advertising this option more prominently,” says Dorner.

Bruce says that StudyLink has advertised this option widely.

“This new service…has been actively promoted on our website and in material sent to students since.”

Bruce says that ultimately it is up to the students to be proactive.

“We want students themselves to play their part too. If a student has access to the internet and wants to assist us with this initiative, we encourage them to register for Mail Online.”

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  1. I remember coming home one day to find seven letters from StudyLink in my mailbox. Five of them were exactly the same letter, the other two were the same too. They should have introduced online letters a long time ago.

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