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Why Student Loan Eligibility Ain’t Right (3)

MEDIA RELEASE – PTE Budget Policy Awareness Group

19 July 2006

Ten Reasons Why Implementation of the New Student Loan Eligibility Rules Just Ain’t Right (Reason Number 3)

Reason Number Three: Strategic Relevance?

As has been made clear by the Government, the rationale for implementing the new loans and allowance rules is to align eligibility with TEC funding.

The Minister for Tertiary Education: “One comes back to the first principle – it seems very strange that the Government provides money to fund students in courses that we don’t think ought to be funded.”

There is, of course, an important difference between courses the Government has decided not to fund and courses that have not applied for Government funding.

But, even setting that important distinction aside, the Government itself has not even decided which courses it believes merit funding. The TEC’s own Review of PTE Student Component Funded Provision is still underway and not scheduled to be completed until 2007.

The stated purposes of that Review are to:
• “shift funding from areas of low relevance to those of higher strategic relevance within the PTE pool; and
• ensure that the Student Component-funded provision in the review areas is high performing and relevant, meets the educational needs of students and the needs of stakeholders such as industry, complements existing public sector provision, and builds on the strengths of PTEs.”

Link to TEC website - http://www.tec.govt.nz/funding/et-reviews/pte_related/pte_related.htm

“Our knees have been arbitrarily cut off because apparently we don’t meet criteria against which we have never been tested or even encouraged to fit. Yet, loans and allowances will continue to be paid out to students enrolled in courses across the sector that the Government is yet to make a judgement on.”

“Our only crime seems to be we have not been eating out of the TEC funding trough like everybody else,” said Brijesh Sethi, Spokesperson for the PTE Budget Policy Awareness Group.

That is only part of the story.

Reason number four to follow tomorrow.

The Issue:

Without warning or consultation with the sector, it was announced that only student enrolled in courses funded by the TEC would be eligible for student loans and allowances, and that this new rule would apply from January 2007.

More than 100 PTEs provide courses not funded by TEC. Between 40 and 50 only provide courses not funded by TEC. Many of these PTEs will be forced to close at the end of the year.

The PTE Budget Policy Awareness Group is calling for a fair and reasonable transition period to the new loans and allowances regime.

ENDS

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