More than ever there is an expectation that young people should attend university if they can. It is seen as the key to better individual employment prospects, a way of addressing future workforce challenges, and the path to a more educated and skilled nation.
That makes it more important than ever to explore the experience of students in finding and affording suitable places to live while they study, and the challenges they face in doing so. The National Union of Students asked Anglicare Australia to assist them in surveying university students to gain insight into these issues. With a sample of just under 2,000 students, the survey responses provide important insight into these questions.
Students who rely on Youth Allowance or Austudy are struggling to pay rent and make ends meet. And many of those who aren’t eligible have to work so many hours that it is harming their studies.
In this survey, huge numbers of students have reported that Centrelink has paid them incorrectly or sent them a debt notification – even when they are reporting correctly and meeting all the requirements.
Anglicare Australia members work with young people facing major obstacles to study, like those leaving out-of-home care. This survey confirms that income support payments are too low and that Centrelink systems are in urgent need of reform.