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An increase of $25 per week has been added to the accommodation supplement received by solo parents who are students.
Since 1 July, solo parents who are studying full-time and have been previously approved for a student allowance have received the same amount of accommodation support they would on a benefit.
VUWSA President Rick Zwaan supported the move, but thought more needed to be done. “It’s a really good step forward; however, allowances and living costs in general need to be increased to meet the real world costs,” Zwaan said.
New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) President Rory McCourt echoed the sentiments. “Being a student and a parent at the same time is one of the hardest double-acts someone can do. Students have to live on less than the benefit, which adds unwanted financial stress to parents juggling coursework and raising a family.”
This financial aid comes amongst increasing criticism from McCourt and Tertiary Education Union (TEU) President Sandra Grey that student loans and allowances are no longer meeting the cost of living in New Zealand.
In a recent piece from The Wireless, Grey pointed to the means by which students were forced to support themselves in addition to study. “Most of the students I teach work at least 15 hours a week, and many up to 30 hours. That’s basically a fulltime job on top of a fulltime job of studying,” she wrote.