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Key findings

The National Study of Social Work Students 2015-16 found that a lack of financial support led to a third of students regularly going without food and other necessities and another third are having substantial difficulties from time to time that affect their ability to engage in their studies. About half of the respondents reported not having enough money to buy all recommended texts and a third reported skipping classes to attend paid work to support their studies.

The study also revealed a number of the hidden impacts of the government’s low level of financial support including students not having enough money for food (33%), clothing (39%), accommodation (27%), transport (36%) or medication (29%).

Student's study experiences were also adversely affected by a lack of finances with students reporting not enough money for all texts or educational resources (52%), being overtired from long working hours in paid employment (47%), needing to skip classes in order to attend a paid job (34%), needing to defer a course or reduce study load in order to work (29%) and a lack of finances increasing the likelihood of dropping out of the course (27%).

Financial distress was heightened during field placements with 72% of students reporting additional financial burden.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers