TERTIARY students are finding themselves buried under staggering workloads due to outdated Youth Allowance criteria.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 positions of young people today. Education student Ella Purser is one of many young people ineligible for financial assistance and is balancing five part-time and casual jobs to stay afloat while studying full-time. Miss Purser moved from Bathurst, in NSW's Central West, to Wagga Wagga, in the state's Riverina, in late 2020 after her de facto partner found work within the region as a physiotherapist. Relocating enabled her to enrol in a particular Charles Sturt University course that was not offered in her hometown - one she was priced out of moving for following her high school graduation three years prior. "When I first left school, I wanted to do this course," she said. "But I saw that it was based in Wagga and thought 'no way', like I was single at that point and there was no way can I afford to live on campus." Living with her working partner means Miss Purser is ineligible for student financial support via Centrelink. Unwilling to rely on others to pay her way through university, she works part-time as a retail assistant, an after-school carer and a support teacher at three secondary schools. "If I didn't have my current jobs, it would be really hard to support myself through my studies," she said. "I'm so overwhelmed at the moment because it's just too hard to like juggle everything." The National Union of Students claims that requirements for Youth Allowance today are not applicable to hundreds of struggling households that face differing financial positions. NUS Welfare officer Billy Zimmerman said without proper assistance in the face of the high cost of living, some young people may find themselves living in unsafe and unstable situations. "Someone who is living with their partner but is struggling should be able to receive the benefits of the Australian safety net - our welfare system," he said. "Over the past few decades, the safety net we could rely on if hard times came has become a shell of what it once was and who it was able to help." The NUS has actively campaigned for adequate financial support for students since its establishment in 1987. IN OTHER NEWS: Mr Zimmerman said the steps policymakers can take to fix the system include changing the Age of Independence to 18 and introducing a Statutory Declaration as sufficient evidence of independence. "We expect 18-year-olds to vote and pay the same taxes and allow them to join the army, legally drink and an array of other benefits, but we do not treat them with maturity when it comes to our welfare system," he said. Propelled by her positive attitude, Miss Purser recently launched her own small candle business, 'Cosy Sunday' - creating another stream of income while decompressing from work and university through a creative outlet she enjoys. She said the idea stemmed from the growing interest in entrepreneurship among her friends. "Throughout COVID, a lot of people around me were starting small little side hustle businesses such as creating resin," she said. "I love doing it so much ... Making money on top of it is an even better perk, so it's a great avenue if you're in a similar situation to start a little side hustle." Her hand-poured soy wax candles and melts are available in various scents and sizes and sold via social media.