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Thread: Eligibility for student loan under a refugee category

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    New Zealand
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    11

    Default Eligibility for student loan under a refugee category

    I intend to study for a PhD through a student loan as the only means for financing the studies since the current supervisor does not have funding. I checked my eligibility with StudyLink and I called them a couple of times for confirmation but every time I call I get conflicting answers regarding whether or not I am eligible for student loan. Relevant facts in this matter are that I am a convention refugee (been granted that in 2015) and on this basis I applied for a PR visa that I was granted 2016.

    The way StudyLink interprets What is meant by Residence mentions being a convention refugee as one of the categories (here is the link: https://www.studylink.govt.nz/about-...type.html#null). The interpretation determines if you have to wait for three years from the date you are granted residence before qualifying for a student loan. However, when the StudyLink case officer looked in my PR visa they decided that I do not qualify until 2019 because I was granted residence in 2016. My question is, what is more relevant in determining my student loan eligibility against this stand down period ? My Refugee status or the date I was granted residence ?.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    36,513

    Default

    It sounds as though you are having the same problem with StudyLink that many people have with the INZ helpline - that the telephone answerers are just a human FAQ system, working from a database of information, not qualified case-workers. That being the case, the answer you get depends on which part of the database they happen to access first, which key words they have entered, etc..

    Looking at the page you have linked to, I think the decision is going to hinge on whether the list is to be interpreted as 'either/or' - whether belonging to one category means that another category will not be considered. In your case, you were/are a convention refugee. If it stopped there, if that was your status at the moment, probably there would be no question over your being granted funding. But then, because of being a refugee, you were granted PR - and it's not clear whether, because of that, your original refugee status is not operating in your favour.

    I think you are not going to get a reliable answer on your case simply from the telephone answerers. In your place, I would set out your case in a letter, and address it for personal attention by someone high up in the organization, on the grounds that the rules in your case need to be interpreted by someone who has the training to have been granted discretion to do so.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
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    Default

    Thanks JandM,

    You are absolutely right, a human robot tended to my several calls during the week. A similar situation was with the online help through email where I could not feel any rapport build up. Anyways, eventually I got some solid answe, I do qualify for student loan and my refugee status has precedence over my PR.

    However, another main questions went unanswered by all of these folks which means I'd need to persist some more. I want to know what support my wife and 2 months old will be getting in addition to my nzd 178 living cost. It'd be unrealistic to only consider me while doing the loan calculation. Any ideas for specific avenues that I can approach. I'm sure I'm not the only ambitious student with a family too but my web search isn't yielding any useful info.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    36,513

    Default

    I think these are the people to talk to. https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/ If they don't have resources set aside for your situation, they will be able to tell you anyone who has. Again, I don't think the front desk/telephone people will be able to help, though.

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