Are students really starving?

The headline:

Students starve to pay their bills

The story continues:

The number of hardship grant applications were increasing as more students were finding themselves in “dire situations”, Association of Students at UCOL (AS@U) president Miranda Orpin said.

It is the least surprising thing in the world that every year more and more students say yes to free cash. Students are not stupid.

Massey linguistics student Lauren Gennills and agri-commerce student Karn Dhaliwal, both 21, said sacrifices had to be made, including cutting back in things like fresh fruit and veges, to cover other costs, like rent and bills.

“You have days where you’ve got maybe $2 to feed yourself for that day and you learn to live off that, but at the end of it you’ve still got this massive student loan to pay off, and you’re stuck in that cycle for ages,” Gennills said.

On the general issue I wish would never run stories on cost of living without asking for a detailed break down of income and expenditure, so readers can judge for themselves the situation.

On the specific issue, Lauren herself has noted on her Facebook:

hahaha oh dear, a lot of what we said was more about most students in general, not actually about ourselves, but they really made it seem like i was referring to my own financial situation! have had family members all day texting me horrified that i am now the new face of hunger in palmy!

So Lauren herself says the article is misleading.

I’ve had a look through the Facebook pages of Lauren and Karn. They both seem very cool friendly people, and in no way are they political activists for a cause. They seem very typical students. I would note however that contrary to the perception in the article of starving students (and I am not blaming them, but the story) they seem to have pretty good social lives judging by the photos, and references to Big Day Out etc.

I have no doubt that it is as tough today living on a student allowance or loan, as it was in my day. But it is not starvation.

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