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Concern at prospect of postgraduate fee rise

AUS WEB SITEConcern at prospect of postgraduate fee rise
The Association of University Staff (AUS) has expressed concern that postgraduate students may be excluded from new tertiary fee maxima regulations, due to be announced in the Budget. It means that tuition fees for students studying at advanced levels will be exempt from regulation, and institutions will be free to set fees at whatever level they determine.

AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, said today that the latest OECD data indicates that New Zealand’s graduation rate for advanced research programmes, PhD or equivalent, is low by comparison to other OECD nations.

A 2001 Ministry of Education report cited cost as a factor in the low recruitment of postgraduate students after figures showed that undergraduate numbers were increasing while postgraduate enrolments were static. It said that fees for postgraduate courses tended to be high in international comparisons. “This brings into question the argument that competition will keep these fees down,” said Dr Rosenberg.

Dr Rosenberg said that allowing any increase in postgraduate fees would threaten prospective growth. “Given the economic and social importance of these students to New Zealand’s research base, incentives are needed to encourage more students to complete postgraduate work. Increasing costs for postgraduate students is unacceptable and not in the national interest,” he said. Dr Rosenberg also pointed to the need to ensure our academic workforce is replenished, noting that a PhD is generally required as the base qualification for university academic positions.

Calling on the Government to include postgraduate students in the fees maxima regulations, Dr Rosenberg said that it is not a matter which should be left to individual institutions to decide.

Ends
For further information please contact
Dr Bill Rosenberg, National President, AUS
Phone (03) 364 2801 (work) (03) 332 8525 (home) 021 680 475 (mobile) Email bill.rosenberg@canterbury.ac.nz

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