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Otago Risks Becoming a Backwater Institution

Otago Risks Becoming a Backwater Institution

Today's Budget introduces a 'Fees Maxima' threshold on what tertiary instutitions can charge as fees. The maxima will be on categories rather than qualifications (ie all arts, all science, regardless of whether it is a bachelors degree or a certificate). This is especially unfair on Polytechnics and Polytechnic students whose courses will have the same maxima as university courses, despite being often vastly different courses and a significant wage difference for graduates.

"Who'd pay the same fees to become a community volunteer as a professional social worker?" asks Ms Watt.

Otago Polytechnic, already in a financially difficult situation, will be heavily disadvantaged by today's announcements. Otago is already running very close to risking lowering course quality to maintain financial viability. Combined with inadequate government funding the Polytechnic is likely to consider significantly increasing fees. However it will then run the risk of decreasing rolls as a result with equally bad financial consequences.

"There needs to be a balance between low student fees to ensure students can afford tertiary education without being burdened by huge student-debt, and adequate government funding to tertiary institutions so they can provide quality education" said Ms Watt.

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