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Labour Tertiary Policy a Significant Step

Labour Tertiary Policy a Significant Step in the Right Direction

QPEC welcomes the government announcement yesterday that Labour will end all interest on student loans for students residing within New Zealand and increase the eligibility for student allowances from next year.

These moves will assist students paying off debts and mean that more students will gain assistance through student allowances to keep their debt level lower than would otherwise be the case.

The cost is a modest $300 million over time.

At the other end of the scale however Labour has not announced any policy to reduce student fees with the fees maxima policy the government introduced last year resulting in overall increases in fees well above the rate of inflation for most students.

This means that while the interest repayments will be ended students will have to borrow more money at the outset to cover fee increases. This will undermine to some extent the benefit to students of yesterday’s policy announcement.

We still have a long way to go to make tertiary education affordable and accessible to all students.

New Zealand can afford fully community funded tertiary education and a universal student allowance far more than we can afford tax cuts.

However, yesterday’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction.

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