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Source: University of Waikato

During New Zealand’s coronavirus lockdown, international student Paige found herself out of the casual work she had been relying on, and with her family in lockdown in China they were unable to send her money.

Without the option of returning home and faced with rent and other bills she could not pay, Paige was referred to the Waikato Students’ Union who supported Paige with rent payments to help ease the pressure.

Angela, a domestic student studying for her Master’s degree, lost her part-time job during lockdown and was struggling to pay her rent and other bills. WSU helped her approach StudyLink and accommodation providers to find a sustainable solution, and provided her with a food grant for instant relief.

WSU President Kyla Campbell-Kamariera says Paige and Angela’s situations are a small slice of the issues facing students as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown and resulting economic fallout.

“We are aware that students often face financial concerns under normal circumstances, but the current situation is an additionally challenging time. We have always had funding available to assist with financial support due to hardship, but we are now seeing a significant increase in requests for support.”

While lockdown has lifted and life is slowly returning to normal, Campbell-Kamariera says many students are still feeling the financial effects of Covid-19, and she encourages those who are in a position to do so, to donate to the Student Hardship Fund.

“It is still early days and many students are still finding their feet. While we have been working with students to lower costs, adjust their lifestyles and make other changes to get through, we are anticipating more situations like Paige and Angela’s in the near future.

“We are very grateful for the support we have received so far which is going a long way to helping the students who need it most, but we do have a way to go yet.”

To support students in this challenging time, donate online to the University of Waikato Foundation. The Foundation will direct 100% of funds received to support students in the University community who are most in need.