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New Zealand's Student Shame

20 April 2005

New Zealand's Student Shame

A recently released international study has confirmed that New Zealand is one of the most expensive places in the world to study tertiary education.

"While most New Zealand graduates already know education is far too expensive here, it will be a surprise to many to find out their debts are bigger than their contemporaries in the US, UK or Australia" said OPSA vice-president, Natalie Absalom.

In the first ever systematic and rigorous study of the affordability and accessibility of tertiary education in an international comparative context, Canada's Educational Policy Institute's Global Higher Education ranked New Zealand the second worst country for affordability - only in Japan was tertiary education less affordable than New Zealand.

"This is an appalling indictment on Labour's promise to make tertiary education affordable" said Ms Absalom.

The study was comprehensive and included more relevant measures than simply comparing fees, like living costs for students and state assistance. Thus countries with more generous student assistance score better.

Students are calling on the government to stop defending the current failed system, and to lower fees and further widen allowance eligibility to improve affordability for New Zealand students.

"Labour need to start some serious investment in making tertiary education more affordable if they care about the future of this country" said Ms Absalom.


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