A spike in the number of University of Otago students
seeking food parcels and looking for work shows ''too many''
are struggling financially, Otago University Students'
Association (OUSA) president-elect Francisco Hernandez says.
The comments came with the release of last month's Student
Job Search (SJS) figures, which showed that for the year to
November almost 1000 more students were looking for jobs and
fewer were being placed in work, with placements down 5% on
This came as the number of students who had sought OUSA Food
Bank parcels so far this year was 20% greater than the entire
amount given out last year.
Mr Hernandez said the spike in food bank use was concerning.
''Their use reflects too many students staggering to the
study finish line in 2012 rather than finishing in good
''Couple that with the job-seeking numbers and the response
to changes to postgraduate allowances, we're just a little
bit concerned that food packs may be a lead indicator for
students dropping out of study,'' he said.
As a result of a change in policy, postgraduate students will
no longer be eligible to receive a student allowance from
next year. However, there were some positives in the SJS
figures, with students in the Otago area having their biggest
earning month in four years in November, taking home a total
of $2.16 million.
In total for the year, Otago students had earned $6.933
million, which was 20% more than at the same time last year.
''The growth in student earnings is great. But there are some
students who are doing it really tough and need help, a
situation which is only going to get worse once the
postgraduate allowance changes come into full effect next
year,'' Mr Hernandez said.