Students allowance hit by government austerity measures

By Alfred Sasako

SOLOMON Islands’ students studying at the University of the South Pacific (USP) Campuses at Laucala in Fiji and Emalus in Vanuatu have started feeling the pinch from the austerity measures introduced by the Government in this year’s Budget.

Some students told Island Sun via the social media yesterday that the allowances they received this week were half what they used to get.

Each student received $700, according to one student.

“How can you live on that when the rental alone is $550? It leaves you just $150,” one student said.

Others said it was probably better to return home to avoid being ridiculed in a foreign country.

The halving of student allowances following similar cuts meted out to students studying at the AMA University in the Philippines last week.

In an email yesterday, Solomon Islands’ Education Attaché, Samantha Teitei Bob explained the payments, urging students to use their money wisely.

“This week this office has received funds enough to pay each student $800 and the balance of $720 will be paid before end of this month,” she said in an email sent to on-campus students yesterday.

“The information that I received is, the balance of the allowance plus May and June will be paid before end of this semester and this includes new students’ establishment.”

“From the allowance documents that this office received students were given a total of FJD3, 600 for the month(s) of February to April.

Students have be(en) paid $2080 from the above amounts over two payments, which means that the remaining balance yet to be paid to students is $1,520.

“I can only provide information that is revealed to me and such I cannot confirm whether the allowance had be(en) affected due to the Country National budget cut. However, we can only confirm the total of semester one allowance when the remaining allowance for this semester is received.

She said that in previous years Students were paid FJD6000 per semester.

“Such students were paid $1040 per month from February to June and $800 for book allowance.

“I strongly rem(ind) all of us to use the funds that we received on needs for now and avoid (expending) funds on entertainment and luxury items including sending money back to the country for family support. We are the ones living in a foreign country.

“I am really sorry for the inconvenience this may (have) caused but I will try and get the Finance Director of the Ministry [of Education and Human Resources Development) to better explain the allowance funds allocation for Fiji students,” Ms Teitei Bob said.

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