PM announces $130mil support package for tertiary students

By Bronson Perich

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced some important changes for tertiary students during this lockdown period.

Tertiary students will now be able to borrow double the current amount for their course-related costs.

The current limit of $1000 per semester is now temporarily extended to $2000.

In addition, the PM announced that student allowance and living cost loan payments for those who cannot study online will be extended for up to eight weeks.

She confirmed that the 'Fees Free' eligibility for those who have had their courses cancelled due to the lockdown will be unaffected.

In a statement, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said, “COVID-19 is impacting students’ ability to financially contribute to and continue their studies. They are facing additional personal costs associated with study in a different way while having fewer opportunities to work to support their study."

The package applies to all fulltime domestic students studying at university, polytechs, or private training establishments this year whether they are enrolled already or planning to enrol.

Information will be available from StudyLink (MSD), the Ministry of Education and tertiary providers.