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Extra Tertiary Funding Must Mean No Fee Rises

Extra Tertiary Funding Must Mean No Fee Rises

The New Zealand University Students' Association is calling on tertiary institutions to accept the government's fee freeze offer in light of today's announcement that extra funding is being provided to the sector with the establishment of the Transition Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

"Universities really have no other choice but to accept the fee freeze deal given that extra money is going to be available from July 2002. If they don't they will be over-riding the wishes of not only the government and students but also the wider community," said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell.

NZUSA has argued throughout the 1990s that tertiary fees are keeping many people away from study. The Knowledge Wave Conference last week prioritised access to tertiary education. "The government has met a part of the bargain - now universities have to meet their commitments and freeze or lower fees."

"Clearly the tertiary sector needs a lot more money to ensure free access and to improve quality. However if institutions do not accept this offer they will have a hard time justifying to the public and students why the 2.6% increase in funding offered in the budget plus this additional $35 million announced today is not enough to ensure fees are frozen," said Campbell.

"The TEC has a big job ahead in steering the reforms to the tertiary sector. If institutions won't co-operate their job will be even harder," said Campbell. "NZUSA believes that the only way for the government to avoid the problems experienced this year with fee stabilisation is to change legislation so institutions can't raise fees whenever they like."

ENDS



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