Winz woes put stress on students : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Christchurch College of Education registrar
Tom Gregg said more than 7000 students had
enrolled at the college, and most had been
affected by substantial delays in the processing
of their loans by Winz.

"I think there are inherent delays in the system,
which are going to be a long-term problem," he said.

The Press Online

-- spider (, February 17, 2000


Here's some more info on this story:


Enrolment problems affecting students at Canterbury University have spread to Lincoln College and Otago Polytech.

Students can't enrol because Work and Income New Zealand hasn't approved their loan applications.

So far, 2,500 students at Canterbury University are affected.

Last year WINZ's bungling of student allowances led to protests and an apology.

Now its student loan management has meant enrolments haven't been verified through computer glitches and 22,000 incorrect forms were sent out.

Also, loan contracts haven't been returned in time, help lines have been overloaded and some Internet applications have been lost.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Tertiary Education and WINZ, Steve Maharey, called an emergency meeting to thrash out solutions.

He is not claiming responsibility, saying the government has inherited the problem.

In a written statement, WINZ promised to bring in technical experts and extra phone operators to help.

For student leaders it can't come soon enough.

"Students are like any member of society - they need money to live," says Canterbury University Student Association President Jarred Gilbert.

"If they don't have it life becomes extremely difficult at a time of year that is stressful anyway."

Until the problem is sorted out students will have no access to library resources and buildings and no student identification.

Published Wednesday, February 16, 2000


The chief executive of Work and Income New Zealand, Christine Rankin, is blaming students and universities and a computer error for problems with processing student loan applications.

She says her staff haven''t failed.

The department has come under fire from student groups after thousands found they couldn''t enrol in universities or polytechnics because their student loans hadn''t been fully processed by WINZ.

Mrs Rankin says 90% of student loans are processed on the day they are received.

But she says 35,000 students have yet to return their signed loan contracts and she says there have been difficulties verifying student''s courses with tertiary institutions.


It is enrolling time for Stacey Campbell (left) and Mary Batchelar but their loans still have not come through. HERALD PICTURE

Winz fouls up again: student loans late

18.02.2000 - By BRONWYN SELL

Students relying on student loans to pay fees and rent are panicking as classes and bills loom with no money in sight.

Delays in processing loan applications, which emerged at Canterbury University early this week, have moved up the country as enrolments started to peak in Auckland and Hamilton yesterday.

Students have been unable to pay fees because of delays in getting loans, which Work and Income New Zealand is handling for the first time this year.

Most universities and other institutions are letting affected students attend classes anyway, but students and staff are frustrated that the Winz problem is hindering the start of the semester.

The University of Auckland skirted the problem by deciding this week to enrol affected students if they have applied for a loan to pay their fees.

But 19-year-old Auckland student Mary Batchelar doubts that her landlord will be so accommodating.

She said she applied for a loan three weeks ago, but Winz lost her details. Even after seven calls to its hotline - once spending 45 minutes on hold - she still did not know the fate of her loan.

Her classes start in 11 days, but she faces another three-week wait.

"I couldn't care less about the fees, but it's the living money I need. I'm going to have to move out of my flat. I don't know where I'll go."

Twenty-year-old Stacey Campbell, who has also been told to wait, said she would have to ask her parents for a loan. "[Winz] is just completely disorganised, and it's very frustrating."

University students' association president Kane Stanford said the offer to delay fee payment was helping, "but if the loans don't come through in two weeks, it's going to get tricky."

Registrar Warwick Nicoll said Auckland University's first concern was for the students, but if the loans did not arrive to pay fees for five more weeks there could be problems.

The head of enrolments at Waikato University, Wayne Clark, thinks about 800 students are affected.

"Students are keen to become enrolled so they can plan their tutorials, plan their timetables, pay their bonds on their student accommodation, set up babysitting facilities, advise employers, etc.

"And they cannot because of the delays. They don't know when they will be getting money, or how much they will be getting, and that causes frustration."

The Auckland University of Technology is allowing nonenrolled students to attend classes, but students' association president Michael Heard said many were struggling to live.

Students had been told applications would take three weeks, but some had applied as early as November and still had no loans.

Unitec president Dr John Webster said he hoped student allowances would not be delayed as well, as they had been last year when Winz took over responsibility for them.

"I think Winz just bit off more than it could chew."

* In another glitch this week, Winz deposited $2936 destined for the Waikato Polytechnic into its students' association bank account. The association said the mistake was funny, but demonstrated the incompetence of Winz. storyID=118704&thesection=news&thesubsection=general

-- Carl Jenkins (, February 17, 2000.

Hard-up students blame Winz for delays

"This Winz crisis is sudden and we're desperate
for support."

The students coming to the association were
presenting genuine cases of hardship: "When
you get women coming to the office and breaking
down in tears because they've got no food for
their family, it's pretty grim reality for the
start of the year."

Otago Daily News

-- spider (, February 17, 2000.

So what's new? This is the way that WINZ has operated ever since it was created almost three years ago. WINZ was formed by the almalgamation of two separate government departments, both of which were equally inefficient. And students have had major problems with the student loan scheme ever since it was introduced. So its certainly not news, and there is no hint of any Y2K relationship in the story.

So come on Spider and Carl, how about some genuine Y2K issues.

-- Malcolm Taylor (, February 17, 2000.

This was a Y2K issue.

Yesterday, Winz apologised to students, blaming
the error on a recent computer upgrade.

Winz makes new slip-up - University fears chaos

-- spider (, February 18, 2000.

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