It’s no exaggeration to say that almost every day I get a letter or email from a postgraduate student who is facing the prospect of not being able to finish their study next year because of the National government’s abolition of student allowances for postgraduate study. I have been working with a number to try to find a way for them to keep studying. Many of the letters are copies from people imploring Steven Joyce to change his mind. There seems to be no chance of that. A number are from students who thought they would be allowances next year as they are part way through their programmes. With a few exceptions (those with dependents who have same course code as this year) this is not happening. Steven Joyce’s confused communications about the issue have not helped.
A group of students affected by the cuts have undertaken a nationwide survey of those getting allowances to see the impact. Good on them for this initative. Amanda and the Keep Our Talent team have come up with some important and disturbing conclusions. 40% of those who responded said they were re-considering post-graduate study becuase of the cuts to allowances. 20% were looking at going overseas. As one respondent put it
I will not be able to do my PhD in New Zealand meaning I am less likely to do research on a topic that is relevant to New Zealand. I am sure others will be in a similar situation and this will severely disadvantage New Zealand’s knowledge and expertise.
The situation is particularly dire in long programmes like clinical psychology (which I will write about in another post). This really is one of the most heartless and short-sighted tertiary policies I have seen in 20 years working in this sector.
And worse of all. Steven Joyce won’t even meet the Keep Our Talent group to discuss their survey. Gutless.