NTEU today commended the Federal Government's $265m increase in Student Income Support, noting that the targeted changes will significantly improve levels of support for regional students.
NTEU has long supported campaigns by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) to improve both access and levels of income support for students in higher education, and in particular increase income support for regional, remote and Indigenous students.
The Government's response to Review of Student Income Support Reforms conducted by Professor Kwong Lee Dow addresses a number of the Union's previous concerns over previous changes to student income support. in particular we welcome the restoration of the gap year eligibility arrangements for independent youth allowance and the increase the value of scholarships for regional students .
In addition, NTEU is pleased to see there will be a substantial increase in relocation scholarships (to be almost doubled for regional students in their second and third years of study) and the expansion of the indepencence criteria to all regional and remote students (previously this was only applicable to outer regional and remote students).
NTEU is disappointed, however, that although (if passed) the funding package will apply from the beginning of next year, postgraduate coursework students will be again disadvantaged with the deferral of the promised expansion of the youth allowance eligibility to coursework degrees to 2014. We also maintain that in order to increase the very low levels of particpation by Indigenous students there must be targeted programs providing both income support and academic mentoring for promising students during their secondary years.
Attached is the media release by the National Union of Students which details the response by students to this announcment.