Students are being warned to hurry up and apply for student
loans and allowances or risk missing out on payments.
Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows said
yesterday students yet to apply risked not getting their
payments sorted out by the start of the academic year.
StudyLink had worked hard to make sure students were aware of
the consequences of leaving applications to the last minute,
''StudyLink advised students to apply by 16 December. It sent
570,000 emails as well as text messages, material on campus,
used Twitter and Facebook, and got help from education
providers and student associations to get the message out
''Over 90,000 students responded to that message, a 46%
increase on the same time last year, which is great news.
These applications will be given priority.
''But as at mid-January, there's more than 60,000 students
yet to apply. It's important that students understand that
StudyLink is now entering its busiest time.''
A Ministry of Social Development spokesman said as of January
25 there had been 19,883 student loan and allowance
applications by University of Otago students, a 10.31%
increase on the same time last year, and 4362 applications by
Otago Polytechnic students, a 20.3% increase on last year.
Mr Borrows said the large volumes of applications meant it
could take more than eight weeks to complete applications,
particularly for complex cases requiring additional
information such as parents' income.
''My message to students is simple. StudyLink is there to
help you, and the sooner you get your application in, the
sooner they can do that.''
Otago University Students' Association president Ruby
Sycamore-Smith applauded StudyLink for encouraging students
to apply early, as last year the association had passed on
complaints received about the service.