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LETTER TO EDITOR: Scholarship woes upset our students

Wednesday 21 December 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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LETTER TO EDITOR: Scholarship woes upset our students

Dear Editor, I wanted to share this with you as I am really upset with the outcome from the Ministry of Education - myself along with many other local students currently studying in New Zealand who have received the same treatment or similar.

As per MOE Student Scholarship options, students can apply for the full scholarship which includes return flights from Auckland to Rarotonga. I understand it supplies a weekly allowance (up to $400), and a full loan which is covered with requirements such agreeing to reside in Rarotonga after completing studies for two years. 

The second option is the Student Success Grant, which is what I am/was on. This consists of 50 per cent of tertiary fees being reimbursed to students at the end of each semester once paper(s) are passed  and results are sent to MOE. 

I arrived in Rarotonga on November 15, and was sent my results two days later. Now I have been following up again and again waiting to hear back/get reimbursement. On December 14 I received an email from MOE saying: “Unfortunately, we are not processing any of the Student Success Grants as our funds currently are not allowing for this. As we prepare ourselves for the next half of the financial year, our committee is re-looking at ways to better manage our Success Grant.” 

This was really shocking to receive and upsetting, as this reimbursement was an income I had been expecting for four weeks. This puts another big financial struggle on me as I planned finances around receiving this "grant" to support me into the next year. 

My questions for MOE are: 

-When was the ministry aware of this issue? 

- Why was I and other students not notified? 

- Have other students been advised? 

- What exactly does “looking at ways to better manage our success grant.” Mean?

- With no reimbursement for semester two, 2022, how are students supposed to book their flights back to NZ to continue studying in 2023? 

This type of situation along with others really shows the massive development that the Cook islands Ministry of Education needs, to help young Cook Islanders. Along with others who go to NZ to study and get qualifications to come back and better our country, I am just so disappointed and angry with the support. 

I am now at the end of my studies so I am grateful to be done with this process that has given me little support over my four studying years. Living in NZ working two jobs Monday to Aunday to pay for my own flights and support myself financially, only to end the Degree with this stunt from MOE. 

I hope the newspaper does a story regarding this issue so the people are aware of it.

Anonymous 

(Details supplied)