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Universities starved in Budget

AUS WEB SITEUniversities starved in Budget
Universities have been a big loser in today’s Budget, according to the Association of University Staff (AUS). Universities will receive a funding increase of 3.2% per student in 2005, only 0.9% more than inflation, and nothing additional for research.
They will receive the lowest overall funding increase across the whole of the education sector.
AUS National President Dr Bill Rosenberg said that as a result of the Budget, government funding per student in 2005 would be substantially less, in actual terms, than it was fifteen years ago. For example, an arts degree attracted government funding of $7,505 per student in 1991, but will only attract only $6,049 per student in 2005.
Dr Rosenberg said that recent research, commissioned by the AUS and the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, revealed that government funding of universities had fallen in real terms by 23% over the last decade.
“Today’s Budget does nothing to alleviate the funding crisis which has become apparent in the university sector,” said Dr Rosenberg. “Spending on tertiary funding in New Zealand remains lower than the OECD average, and universities have fared worst within the sector.”
Dr Rosenberg said that the failure to substantially increase research funding was particularly disappointing. “After the efforts to establish the Performance-Based Research Fund, we had expected the Government to show that it had a real commitment to the future of research. Clearly it has not,” he said.
“This Budget undermines the long-term quality of university education and inhibits the enhancement of an economy and society based on increased knowledge,” said Dr Rosenberg.
An Innovation Conference for tertiary education institutions, also announced in today’s Budget, would do nothing to address the basic funding of salaries, staffing levels, and infrastructure according to Dr Rosenberg. “It is nothing but an effort to draw attention from the fundamental issues facing the sector,” he said.
Dr Rosenberg said it was time the Government differentiated its policy on universities and funded them in a manner which enabled them meet their specific role as it has begun to do for community childcare centers and public polytechnics in the Budget.

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

Helen Kelly,
General Secretary, Association of University Staff (AUS)
Phone (04) 915 6691 (work)
(04) 385 3153 (home)
027 436 6308 (mobile)
Email: helen.kelly@aus.ac.nz


The Association of University Staff
PO Box 11 767 Wellington, New Zealand
Phone +64 4 915 6690 Fax +64 4 915 6699 Email: national.office@aus.ac.nz


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