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Medical Students Urge Restraint

Sunday 6th May, 2001

In anticipation of a pre-budget meeting between university Vice-Chancellors and the Government, the New Zealand Medical Students' Association (NZMSA) is urging universities to consider social, educational and ethical issues when considering the acceptance of the government fee freeze offer.

"The NZMSA has written to the University of Otago Council members stating a case for accepting the government's fee freeze offer", said Richard Pole, President of the New Zealand Medical Students' Association (NZMSA).

Otago university medical students currently pay $NZ 49,708 in fees for the six-year medical degree. When the cost of living is factored in, the resultant debt from gaining a medical degree is astronomical, and unsustainable. In Australia, the same degree would cost medical students less than $A30,000 in university fees.

"The universities and the government have a responsibility to come to an understanding that does not involve an increase in fees," said Richard Pole. "Some good faith bargaining may be required. The government must offer more; the universities must accept less".

The NZMSA is currently co-ordinating a nation-wide survey of medical students to assess the level of medical student debt, and establish how this debt will affect career intentions, and desire to leave the country.


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