Students skipping meals, missing rent to afford university

Tertiary students are regularly going without food to make ends meet, a new survey shows.

The Unitec survey questioned almost two thousand students. It found more than a third have considered dropping out because of financial or work pressures.

A third are also often going without food, or others necessities, to make ends meet.

For Māori students, the proportion who have contemplated withdrawing before course completion is nearly half.

Student Union national president Jonathan Gee says it's a huge concern.

"Tertiary studies should be a way out of poverty, not a way into it. What we're seeing here is that so many students are going into debt, so many students aren't able to afford the cost of living, and that's become a big disincentive for them to continue with tertiary education."

He says the Government needs to increase the student allowance and improve its availability in its upcoming Budget.

The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations says there is a clear message for Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.

It says the $218 student allowance (including accommodation benefit) should be increased so it at least covers the rent of the 40 percent of students living in Auckland, where the average price of a room is more than $250.

The survey also found that more than half of students questioned (55 percent) had not had enough income to meet their living costs at some stage in the past 12 months.

NZN / Newshub.