Study finds 17 per cent of students can’t afford food

By Adam Pearse

A survey of nearly 2000 Auckland Unitec students has found nearly a fifth are “regularly going without food or other necessities”.

As well as this more than half of all students and two-thirds of Māori students surveyed say that in their last year of study their income was not enough to cover their living costs.

MUSA President, Nikita Skipper, says the government has let down New Zealand students and the new tertiary budget should encourage a discussion around student living.

“In terms of either housing or the basic rights of food is disgusting for the government to ignore and not recognise as a problem, with the new release of the tertiary budget, I think we need to ask ourselves how much does $20 cover in terms of increasing housing costs and food.”

Skipper sees the treatment of poorer students as cruel and says it highlights the inequality in education that it enables.

“It is so wrong and cruel to ask people to suffer when other students around New Zealand aren’t as stretched for cash. Where is the equality in education and when are we going to see it?”

Current student, Saskia Gilbert says the living costs provided are not suitable and money is very hard to come by.

“There is no way that living costs cover your life. I’m not actually eligible for student allowance as my dad earns too much, but that doesn’t mean he’s been able to help me out.”

Gilbert acknowledges her part-time job as her primary source of income and says sleep had to be sacrificed in order to make ends meet.

“I survived undergrad because I got a job and just didn’t sleep when I had to work and study to do. I’m only surviving now because of savings from said job and taking out course related costs.”

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