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Varsity Loan Masks Real Problems

The fact that the University of Canterbury is pursuing a $100 000 000 loan is an indication of the failure of the Tertiary Minister, Steve Maharey, to properly address the funding crisis plaguing the Tertiary sector, say the University of Canterbury Students’ Association.

University of Canterbury’s Council again debated the controversial financing deal on Wednesday night

The Labour party touted the 2.3% funding increase as its tertiary flagship policy preventing any fee increase for 2001. But while students hailed the slight relief in fees, the problem of inadequate funding has simply been passed on to institutions.

"The recent cuts in departmental funding and the prospect of a multimillion dollar funding agreement shows that the Labour policy has barely halted the Tertiary education crisis" Jarrod Gilbert UCSA president said today.

In 1999, Tertiary education was a major political football with Steve Maharey offering students and universities the promise of change.

"The Tertiary sector is only marginally better off with Steve Maharey as minister than it was with the National Government ? and they paid a heavy price for implementing poor education policies." Gilbert said.

"The University and others are being placed in an untenable position. We are being forced to look for money elsewhere."

Gilbert, who is also a member of the University Council, also expressed concern that the borrowing of $100 million could simply mean that the impact of inadequate funding will be borne by the university in the future.

"I remain worried that if the loan repayments are not met in the future then students will bear that cost through their fees or further departmental cuts." said Gilbert.

"Even with such controversy surrounding this loan, the Minister has not been prepared to investigate in any meaningful way. Where is the leadership?"

"The honey moon period between students and Steve Maharey is now truly at an end." said Gilbert.

-- Jarrod Gilbert President University of Canterbury Students' Association Tel: 03 3642 652 x3934 025 276 1107 Fax: 03 3642 836


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