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Please Minister Can I have Free Education?

The New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) is today calling on the Government to make major changes to the way tertiary education is funded as students prepare to head back to study.

The call comes in response to a media statement made by the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary), Steve Maharey, urging New Zealanders to enter into tertiary education in 2001 due to the government "dramatically reducing" the cost of tertiary education through changes it made in 2000.

"Despite recent changes to the loan scheme and tuition fees being frozen, cost is still far and away the greatest barrier to tertiary education", said Andrew Campbell, NZUSA Co President.

"Fees are still high, the average full time Univeristy student will still come out with a $20,000 loan, many institutions are still in a precarious financial position due to a decade of under funding and most students will still not receive an allowance. The government's commitment to a knowledge society still appears to be largely rhetoric", said Campbell.

"The Government's funding adjustments last year were a positive first step. However much more work needs to be done before it actively encourages students to take on many years of debt. An educated society benefits us all, a fact not recognised in the current user pays funding model", said NZUSA Co President Sam Huggard

"NZUSA encourages the Government to go much further in alleviating the current debt burden. The Government should be using the upcoming budget to decrese tuition fees and broaden accessibility to allowances to achieve this goal", said Huggard

ENDS

"If I can't dance, it's not my revolution" -- Emma Goldman


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