Studylink will continue to make payments to students following the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, which will last at least four weeks.
Last week, Studylink announced that enrolled students will continue to receive their student allowance and student loan living costs payments, despite changes to study.
As of the 26th of March, a banner on the Studylink website reads “Our phone lines are overloaded. Please only call us if absolutely necessary. No payments will be stopped.”
Studylink also communicated to students around New Zealand that they may be able to assist if students are facing urgent or unexpected costs in light of the COVID-19 lockdown.
As all non-essential businesses close in line with the shift to Level Four of the COVID-19 Alert System, many students have lost their primary source of income. One student, who is a University of Auckland accommodation resident, spoke with Craccum and expressed that they were unsure of how they were going to pay their accomodation fees.
“I pick up extra shifts to make more money, so now I’m getting paid way less during the lockdown. We still have to pay full fees to stay [in university accommodation], so I honestly have no idea how that’s gonna work but I’m stuck here now because the lockdown has started.”
The university offers hardship support to students facing unexpected financial difficulties. In an email to all University of Auckland accommodation residents, Associate Director, Campus Life (Accomodation) Micheal Rengers acknowledged that students are facing challenges due to the lockdown, and that “If you are facing financial hardship because of coronavirus, additional support has also been put in place, which may be able to help you meet your essential day-to-day living expenses.”
Students can complete the Student Emergency Fund Application Form online via the University of Auckland website. The website also directs students to the Auckland University Students’ Association’s advocacy webpage for further help for those who may have lost their job as a result of COVID-19, and advises students they may be eligible to be paid for their notice period or for annual leave.