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Budget signals fee rises Labour’s broken promise

Budget signals fee rises and Labour’s broken promise

Labour’s election promise to “keep tertiary education affordable” has been broken today with the budget news that fees are likely to go up for thousands of students.

“Fee maxima were supposed to control tuition fees, “ said Fleur Fitzsimons, Co-President of the New Zealand University Students’ Association. “Instead, government has set maxima so high that they are almost meaningless. Big fee rises for the majority of students are almost inevitable.”

The fee maxima released in the budget today are well above current average fee levels and completely exclude postgraduate students. The maxima are higher than average current fee levels for degree students by up to $833, while at sub degree level the difference is nearer $1100.

“With a $4 billion surplus, this government can well afford to hold fees at their current levels or lower them,” said Fitzsimons. “Instead, they are looking to students to pay more on top of already high tuition fees.”

“New Zealand cannot afford these fee increases. We’re already losing many skilled graduates overseas and seeing student debt play a significant part in our declining birth rates. The effects of the disastrous loan scheme will be even worse if students have to borrow more next year to cover Labour’s fee increases.”

“Government claims that institutions won’t increase fees is a joke to anyone who remembers fee setting in the 90s,” said Fitzsimons. “Today, they have abandoned students, broken their election promise and done their bit to make education less affordable.”

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