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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 16, July 12, 1976.


page 4


Agrarian images including wheat and a bee hive

Student Living Standards Going Downhill

When the Labour Government finally gave students their Standard Tertiary Bursary it was accepted as the first step towards the building of a "decent living wage".

But as with all fixed incomes, we have suffered brutally over the past year at the hands of inflation. Also, the standard bursary that we had envisaged, has turned out to be riddled with anomalies for large sections of the student population.

In the first term Salient heard many stories of despair when the first term bursary payment was delayed. Many were people living in flats, who only received $13 a week because their parents lived in a Wellington suburb. Others were female students, or students who couldn't get a holiday job, whose earnings were insufficient to tide them over until the first payment.

Unfortunately, when you're paying $18-$20 a week for rent and food, your $13-a-week bursary doesn't go very far, and if you're living in a university hostel then you may as well pack it in. For the PhD student who doesn't even receive an STB (one of the many anomalies), there is not much incentive to continue.

The Government is determined to keep up the cuts in education and not to adjust the level of bursaries until 1978 (election year). By this time inflation will have made them utterly meaningless in the battle to keep up with the cost-of-living.

Our national officers have put very detailed cost-of-living adjustment schemes before the Minister of Education and he has rejected them. Unless we win acceptance of a cost-of-living adjustment clause in the bursary regulations then we will be left forever to the generosity of the Government in power.

There is an extremely large proportion of students who are suffering because of bursary levels. If you think that you are surviving okay, think of these others when you are asked to support bursary increases.

— John Ryall.