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March 5, 2007 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Non-student rips off hardship fund

A former Vic student has received a hardship grant from the University – despite having dropped out of university several months ago.

The former student, who did not wish to be named, provided Salient with a letter from Financial Support and Advice (formerly named Student Financial Advisory Service) which says he had received two payments from the service totaling $660.

The two payments included a $100 advance in December last year and $560 in January this year “for bond”.

He also told Salient that he dropped out of university during last year as the course he was taking was “a girl’s subject”, and that he intended to move to Australia in 2007.

He claimed the university only asked him for a bank statement from him as proof of his financial situation, and didn’t require any other evidence. He said he merely told Financial Support and Advice staff that he was intending to return to university this year, despite having no intention to return.

The former student also said that buying beer was more important than buying food, and that that was what he intended to use the money for.

Financial Support and Advice Manager Barbara Scelly says that this may not be the only case of people ripping off the service, but that she does not want genuine cases to miss out.

“It’s distressing… I have no doubt it’s happened but I don’t really want to view everyone who walks in the door with suspicion because there are so many people who need help. I don’t know how he manipulated it or how it happened,” says Scelly.

Scelly also said the service tends to “err on the generous side” and give students the benefit of the doubt when approving grants, so as students don’t continue to struggle after they receive assistance.

The service has been approached by a number of students so far this year for a variety of reasons, with around a third being for accommodation issues due to the current accommodation crisis in Wellington.

The service offers not only hardship grants, but assistance and advice on financial issues, Study Link issues, and financial statements for scholarship applications.

Financial Support and Advice is located at 14 Kelburn Parade. Appointments are essential.


About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

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