The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations is calling for increased student support to ensure that students can continue to study amid fluctuating Alert Levels.

“With this morning’s increase in COVID Alert Levels, students face yet more uncertainty and stress at the start of the academic year. They’ve already had their orientations disrupted by COVID; the Government cannot allow this virus to ruin their entire year” says National President Andrew Lessells.

“Government needs to step up for students to make sure they can access technology, to make sure they can pay their rent, to make sure they can afford to survive.”

With the increase in Alert Levels also comes significant mental hardship for the 400,000 students across Aotearoa. The Government has committed $25 million to mental health support for students but only $2 million is available this year.

“Last year’s $25 million for student mental health was a good start, but this yo-yoing proves that far more is needed. This is the most stressful time to be a student in generations and that’s why NZUSA is asking the Government to double funding for student mental health.” says Lessells.

During the first lockdown in 2020, the Government introduced a Student Hardship Fund for those who had lost jobs, and experienced financial challenges because of COVID-19. NZUSA is calling for this fund to be reintroduced, to make sure that support is in place for students when they need it.

Students are also calling for tertiary institutions to get more Government funding to make sure they can teach remotely and offer the quality education that students deserve.

“Many universities and most polytechnics don’t have the resources to transition their courses to decent online delivery, so the Government needs to step in to make sure students get the education that Aotearoa’s tertiary sector prides itself on.” Lessells says.

NZUSA is working with our members and partners to ensure that students needs are met at this challenging time.

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