I’ve just finished the excruciating process of applying for my student allowance! YESSS!!!
Honestly, if nothing else, the horror of dealing with Studylink is enough to deter me from ever undertaking further study. That, and the bloated fees charged for post grad.
It might be worth it after the age of 25. I think that’s when the new limits kick in – they get over $300 per week, instead of less than $200. Why? I dunno. Maybe they think someone older will have more financial obligations. Still, isn’t that something for us to handle ourselves? It’s not Studylink’s job to cover our visa payments, car loans, HPs, etc.
What bugs me is the sheer repetitiveness of the application process. I have to enter the same info every year. DOB, date I arrived here, date I became a citizen (I don’t know any of these dates; I just hazard a rough guess), etc. Thankfully I shouldn’t have to send in paperwork as they should have it on file from the last two years.
I also have to enter how much I’ll be earning during the semester. Get this: I don’t even have my timetable yet. I don’t know what hours I’ll be working or how much I’ll earn. That will probably change from the $190 i entered and I’ll have to frantically call their 0800 number in the last week of Feb to recalculate my allowance entitlement. And get a letter signed by my boss to say I’m not lying.
I really don’t have any faith in Studylink. Last year I didn’t get approved until the second week of uni (but they backpaid me, yay!). I never got the forms I needed despite calling week after week. I think it was the postman’s fault actually, but whatever. I still despise them; they’ve a govt. operated agency and the sheer bureaucracy is unbelievable!
In 2007 about 2/3 through the year some smart alec staff member was poking around the system and noticed that I’d applied in 2006. Yes, at the END of 2006, for the 2007 year. So as to be ahead of the game.
But they took no notice of that. No, they assumed that despite applying in December of 06, I must have been applying for the 2006 accdemic year, and therefore should not have been receiving payments for the whole of 2007. And they took it upon themselves to suspend me. The first I knew was when I checked my balance and had NOTHING in my account.