Government boosts student allowances and loans by $50/week

As promised, the Government has increased the weekly student allowance and weekly student loan by $50 a week. The increased rates will come into effect from January 1, 2018.

The change will affect more than 130,000 students in full-time study. For the time being, post-graduate students will remain ineligible for allowances.

"From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

"Allowance payments for single students aged under 24 and living away from home, for example, will rise from $177.03 to $227.03. The maximum amount that students can borrow will rise from $178.81 to $228.81."

The accommodation benefit will also rise by $20 to a maximum of $60 a week for students.

There will be no change to eligibility criteria for allowances.

For under-24s, their student allowance starts decreasing if their parents' combined income is more than $55,000 before tax. Students under 24 can't get an allowance at all if their parents earn more than $84,400 if they live with the parent or $91,800 if they live outside the family home. Rates are higher if there are other young students in the family.

A promise to increase the student allowance and the weekly student loan was part of Labour's 100-day plan.

It's part of a package of changes planned for tertiary education. The largest change will be making three years of post-school training free by 2024.

That will start in 2018, with the Government stepping in to fully subidise the first year of post-school training. 

Labour's also promised to re-instate allowances for post-graduate students and for those taking long courses, but it has not yet indicated a start time, saying it will be "considered" in the 2018 Budget.

During the campaign, the party estimated the cost for student support will be $270 million per year, plus $340 million per year for the free first year of post-school education. 

Newshub.

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