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May 17, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Seamus Brady: Vice President—Welfare

Your Student Services

In the coming weeks the University and VUWSA will be undertaking consultation with students about the 2011 Student Services Levy. This is the levy that was increased by 94% last year (if you are a full time student, by more if you are part-time) to $510 and covers services like Student Health, Finance, Disability Support, Accommodation Services and the Recreation Centre.

Keep an eye out for how you can feed into this process in Salient and our website. This is significant as it is the first time that VUWSA (in partnership with VUW) will play a role in recommending what the 2011 levy should be. As the funders and users of the Services your opinions are extremely important and we (and the University) want to know them.

StudyLink Special Needs Grant

If you have no money to buy food and your previously available funds were used up by an essential expense, then you may be entitled to a StudyLink “Special Needs Grant”. The maximum you can receive in a 52 week period is $400 for a single person unless there are exceptional circumstances.

How do you get it? You must be a StudyLink client; you have no savings; you have assured StudyLink you have explored alternatives including borrowing money from friends or family, you can prove you have no available funds (this means a verified account balance from the bank that includes the last 10 transactions made). This must be done on the same day as your appointment with Study link. (The official policy is that overdrafts do not count as ‘funds’); if you have a part time job you’ll need to provide two pay slips.

If you think you meet the above, get in touch with StudyLink on 0800 88 99 00. Just one word of warning: while you are entitled to apply for emergency assistance for a Special Needs Grant or Recoverable Assistance there are limits to how much you can get. As always we can’t guarantee your eligibility, but if you do have issues with StudyLink get in touch with our Lorraine, our Student Advocate the great people at Student Finance can also give you assistance with this and wider budgetary help.

Rumor has it there is a Salient article from 2007 that details further assistance you can get from WINZ. Just Google it.

Tax Returns

We have been getting a great response from my last column about getting your tax back. It’s not too late to still get yours and it’s really easy. We have put the instructions about how to go about it on our website. Who knows, you could be owed hundreds. And you can get it all with out a nasty middleman company siphoning off a cut for themselves.

Seamus Brady


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