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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 1. March 3 1968

Boarding Allowance Mix-Up

Boarding Allowance Mix-Up

Sirs.—I feel I should bring your attention to an appalling situation created by the present boarding allowance regulations.

You are no doubt well aware that, should your parents move to Otaki, you would become eligible for a boarding allowance on the grounds that, in order to study at university, you would be obliged to live away from home.

You may not, however, be aware that, were your parents to move to London, the government would not be quite so eager to support you. Such is my own situation.

The Education Department were kind enough to attempt to enlighten me as to the "reasoning" behind this discrimination. Their case, as far as I gathered from their flurried and extremely evasive correspondence, is this:

• My parents are in London, therefore my parents are not in New Zealand. (The fact that the move is temporary and that my parents remain New Zealand citizens does not seem to interest the Department).

• Therefore I have no home town in New Zealand — home being where my parents reside — or alternately, Wellington remains my home town from which my parents are temporarily absent.

• In neither case can I be said to be obliged to live away from home in order to study.

• Hence I am not eligible for a boarding allowance.

The second point, on which the department's case hangs, was left so vague in the explanations I received, that I might equally have inferred the following:

• Since I no longer have any parents in New Zealand, I myself constitute my only direct family.

• In this case, wherever I reside is my home town, i.e. the town where my "family" lies.

• Therefore by remaining in Wellington to study, I remain in my home town and am still not eligible for the allowance.

I understand that the boarding allowance scheme was created to give financial aid to needy students, obliged to support themselves away from home in order to complete degrees. The original motive is laudable. Why then has the department merely played around with syllogisms and made no attempt to discover whether or not my claim is justified in the light of my proposed career, academic record and financial situation?

I need two units to complete a B.A. and had planned to advance to Honours next year. My proposed career was secondary school teaching or preferably lecturing, for which a degree is obviously necessary.

My parents are naturally more in need of capital to establish themselves in London than they would have been, had they chosen Otaki, and so are less able to support me.

I am obliged to remain in New Zealand to complete my B.A. since units from New Zealand universities cannot be transferred to English ones. The only solution would have been to begin a completely new degree in the U.K. With my New Zealand B.A. only months from completion, few will fail to understand my decision to stay on here.

The essentials of my situation differ little from those of the student who normally claims a boarding allowance, yet because the Education Department has chosen to cavil over the difference between London and Otaki, I am faced with the prospect of being unable to do Honours next year.

There must be numbers of students whose parents are obliged to make similar temporary moves — students in financial positions even more critical than my own, who have been obliged to drop out of university altogether, by this senseless regulation. I leave it to your readers to decide whether the Education Department is justified in hairsplitting to the point of jeopardising individual careers. Yours etc.

(Name Withheld).