It certainly didn’t take long for students who had planned to do postgraduate study to start emailing us asking for appointments to discuss alternative career options as they could no longer afford to carry on with study. Changes to the student loan and allowances announced in the budget have affected a great number of students.

What to do if postgraduate study is required for your preferred career choice?

Firstly, remember that although Honours is postgraduate, it is the only qualification at Level 8 which is still eligible for the student allowance.  Another popular qualification is the Graduate Diploma of Teaching.  This diploma is at a Level 7 so will still continue to qualify for the student allowance.  If you are not sure what level a qualification is, you can find out here:  http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nzqf/search/results.do?org=700493001

If you are currently getting an allowance for postgrad study you will continue to get it until 31 December 2012.  After that, you will still be able to borrow against the student loan for living costs and depending on your situation and you may be entitled to an accommodation allowance.  Don’t hesitate to contact the Financial Support and Advice team for assistance:  student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz 

Now, back to the reasons for considering postgraduate study….

  • Postgraduate qualifications are becoming increasingly more important in a competitive market
  • It is essential for high level analytical and research work
  • In general, policy advisor and social science research roles require a minimum Honours level qualification
  • Market research and financial investment organisations often require a Master’s degree
  • Most scientific research positions require a Master’s degree

Many postgraduates have reported that as a result of their studies they were given higher level of responsibilities at work, received higher salaries and most importantly, achieved greater job satisfaction.

Postgraduate study should always be considered carefully before charging ahead, and it’s important to explore your career options before you enrol in further study.  Remember that a postgraduate qualification is not a guarantee to employment; you must be able to link your study to the requirements of the organisation you are applying for.  If in doubt, talk over your ideas with a careers consultant.

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