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Fee maxima are a necessary protection for students

Fee maxima are a necessary protection for students.

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association (ATSA) is disappointed that the Education Forum continues to distort the ideals of social equity and distributive justice which form part of the basis for tertiary education fee maxima.

"The Education Forum report offers some worthwhile suggestions for improving educational outcomes," ATSA President Julie Pettett stated today. "For example, we fully agree with its call for increased targeting of assistance to under represented groups. Less helpful to the debate is a sweeping argument that fee maxima will prevent institutions from being internationally competitive, or that such controls will prevent providers from using their resources wisely."

It is ATSA's position that fee maxima will assist providers in becoming more financially responsible. This, together with the other mechanisms to be managed by the Tertiary Education Commission, will assist them in delivering the highest quality education in a student focussed manner.

"The national interest in the delivery of affordable educational opportunities to students and their families is too important for fee decisions to be left in the hands of autonomous institutions," Pettett said. "The market model failed totally in managing the funds of 'our' airline (Air New Zealand) and 'our' railways (New Zealand Rail). It seems unwise in the extreme to gift the future control of our tertiary education system to such an ideology."

"ATSA will be providing a fuller response to the Education Forum's report, 'Who Should Pay? - Tuition Fees and Tertiary Education' when its members have read and commented on the document," Pettett said. "Our initial position is that any argument which states education providers can only provide high quality, affordable education if they have full financial autonomy is an overly simplistic approach to tertiary education."

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