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Bums-on-seats funding ok for student politicians

7 April 2006

Bums-on-seats funding ok for student politicians

At the same time student politicians are criticising the so-called bums-on-seats method of government funding for tertiary education, compulsory student associations continue to receive their income through exactly the same funding approach, Student Choice said today.

Currently compulsory student associations and affiliated groups like the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) receive their income based on the number of students who enroll at an institution. Each student must pay a compulsory levy to an association at enrolment, Student Choice spokesman Glenn Peoples said.

"Compulsory membership is bums-on-seats approach to funding. Compulsory associations receive their income based on the number of students who enroll rather than by providing a quality product and selling memberships to individual students," Mr Peoples said.

"An output-based model of funding would cause student associations to focus on quality and meeting the needs of members. If they were successful in providing effective representation associations would have nothing to fear from allowing students to chose whether or not they join," he said.

"If NZUSA and other groups truly believe that the bums-on-seats model does not "and has not worked for students" they should dump their current system of funding and move to voluntary membership," Mr Peoples said.

Student Choice upholds voluntary student association membership on the grounds of freedom of association.


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