Call to change uni procedures

Dunedin  postgraduate student Lisa Jankowska is calling on the university to change an enrolment...
Dunedin postgraduate student Lisa Jankowska is calling on the university to change an enrolment procedure so she can receive a student allowance. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

A Dunedin postgraduate student is calling on the University of Otago to change a bureaucratic process which she says has stopped her from getting a student allowance this year.

Changes to student allowance eligibility announced by the Government in last year's Budget came into force this year, and most postgraduate students are among those no longer eligible. However, until last week, Lisa Jankowska (28) had been under the impression she would still be eligible for the allowance because she had started her one-year commerce master's degree last year. This changed when she learnt, University of Otago procedures meant she was forced to re-enrol for her degree this year, making her ineligible for the allowance.

Ms Jankowska said the university should either change the way it dealt with enrolments or send StudyLink a letter saying her course started in August last year and finished in July this year.

Despite having no luck getting the university to change its mind, she still hoped the situation could be worked out as she was ''literally banking'' on receiving the $244 a week she got through the allowance.

Since her allowance stopped in December, she had been forced to take out a $2000 overdraft, she said.

''We went through Christmas this year thinking we were going to have an income, which we now don't have.''

Asked if she was angry with the university, she said: ''I was at first, but it is the Government that has made this problem. The university just has a procedure which doesn't fit in with the new policy.''

When asked about Ms Jankowska's problem, a university spokeswoman said it would be unwilling to change its policy, which was based on the calender year.

''While we sympathise with those students affected by the change to postgraduate student allowances, due to their date of enrolment, the StudyLink regulation change was announced in the Government's 2012 Budget and is not a change to university policy.''

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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