University student takes five jobs and starts side business due to outdated youth allowance eligibility criteria | The Daily Advertiser


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Tertiary students find themselves buried under dizzying workloads due to outdated youth allowance criteria. The National Union of Students (NUS) has claimed the system is “long overdue for an overhaul” to reflect the unique financial circumstances of young people today. Education student Ella Purser is one of many young people ineligible for financial aid and juggles five part-time and casual jobs to stay afloat while studying full-time. Miss Purser moved from Bathurst to Wagga at the end of 2020 after her de facto partner found work with the Riverina as a physiotherapist. Moving allowed her to enroll in a private course at Charles Sturt University that was not offered in her hometown – a course for which she was deprived of a move after graduating from high school three years previously. “When I left school, I wanted to take this course,” she said. “But I saw he was based in Wagga and I thought ‘no way’, like I was single at the time and there was no way I could afford to. live on campus.” Living with her work partner means Miss Purser is not eligible for student financial support through Centrelink. Unwilling to rely on others to pay for her college education, she works part-time as a sales clerk, after-school caregiver, and support teacher at three secondary schools. IN OTHER NEWS: ‘If I didn’t have my current jobs, it would be really hard to support myself while in school,’ she said. “I’m so overwhelmed right now because it’s too hard to love juggling everything.” The National Union of Students says Youth Allowance requirements today do not apply to hundreds of struggling households who face different financial situations. Billy Zimmerman, head of social services at NUS, said that without proper assistance in the face of the high cost of living, some young people could find themselves in dangerous and unstable situations. “Someone who lives with their partner but is struggling should be able to benefit from the Australian safety net – our welfare system,” he said. “Over the past few decades, the safety net we could rely on in times of difficulty has become a shell of what it once was and who it could help.” The NUS has actively campaigned for adequate financial support for students since its inception in 1987. Zimmerman said steps policymakers can take to fix the system include changing the independence age to 18 years and the introduction of a statutory declaration as sufficient proof of independence. “We expect 18-year-olds to vote and pay the same taxes and allow them to join the military, drink legally and enjoy other benefits, but we don’t treat them with maturity when it comes to our welfare system,” he said. noted. Propelled by her can-do attitude, Miss Purser recently launched her own small candle business, ‘Cosy Sunday’, creating an alternative source of income while decompressing from work and college through a creative outlet she enjoys. She said the idea stemmed from growing interest in entrepreneurship among her friends. “Throughout COVID, a lot of people around me have started small side businesses like resin creation,” she said. “I love doing it so much… Earning extra cash is an even better perk, so it’s a great avenue if you’re in a similar situation to start a little hustler.” Her hand-poured soy wax candles and melts are available in different scents and sizes and sold through social media. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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