Over the past couple of years, students have had to adjust to the constant shifting of COVID-19 alert levels and the resulting impact on their studies and personal lives. For many students, this has also come with additional challenges like financial hardship.
AUT recognised our students' increased need, and through the Student Hardship Fund, the University has to date distributed $1,281,854, supporting 1526students with 2482 financial assistance cases as at 10 November this year.
Students experiencing financial difficulty while studying at AUT, or have had their income affected by COVID-19 alert levels, are able to seek financial support with food or transport vouchers, rent arrears payments, utilities, living expenses and top up data vouchers.
The August lockdown saw a significant increase in financial assistance applications, with more than $791,114 of the funds being distributed since 17 August, the start of lockdown.
For those who wouldn't otherwise have been able to study online, AUT arranged the lease of 1736 laptops and partnered with Skinny Jump to provide 817 connectivity data packages to students.
90% of the funding supported domestic students, while 10% assisted international students.
Group Director Student Services and Administration, Joanna Scarbrough, says it is heartening to be able to provide this additional support to those students experiencing hardship, especially while Auckland continues to face lockdown restrictions.
"Our Student Services team have worked incredibly hard to provide personalised and efficient support to students seeking our assistance. We hope that by alleviating some of the financial pressures faced by our students, this will allow them to focus on their learning experience with AUT," she says.
Recognising the impact of COVID-19 on tertiary students, the Government has also allocated a further $1 million to AUT for student hardship for 2021/2022.