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Fee Increases Undermine Labour’s Tertiary Policy

Labour Gives with its Left hand and Takes with its Right

Fee Increases Cynical Undermining of Labour’s “No Interest on Student Loans” Policy

The announcement by Victoria University of a 5% fee increase across the board and their intention to apply to the Tertiary Education Commission for a 10% increase for some courses are an indictment on Labour’s tertiary education fees policy.

Around the country most tertiary institutions are following the same steps – we are not aware of any institution which is proposing fee increases of less than the rate of inflation.

The same pattern occurred 12 months ago when Massey University was the only institution to have a zero fees increase. Most others sought the full 5% increase with 10% for some courses.

During the election campaign we welcomed Labour’s announcement that it would end all interest on student loans for students residing within New Zealand and increase the eligibility for student allowances from next year.

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

At the same time however we pointed out that the policy would be undermined if Labour cynically allowed institutions to increase fees – well above the rate if inflation – so that students would have to borrow more money at the outset to cover fee increases and that this would undermine the benefit of its “no interest on student loans” policy.

Labour has given to students with its left hand and is now taking away with its right hand.

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

The recent fee increases shift the quality tertiary education goalposts further away for huge numbers of our children with one third of our children continuing to live in poverty.

John Minto

National Chairperson

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