Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Fees-free: we’re getting it all wrong

26 June 2018

Fees-free: we’re getting it all wrong

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) is challenging the assertion that a 0.3 percent increase in tertiary enrolments this year means that fees-free has been a failure. The Government introduced free fees for the first year of tertiary education and training on 1 January 2018.

‘We’re forgetting what this policy is ultimately about – making education accessible for all,’

says National President Jonathan Gee.

‘The measure of success needs to be more than just increased enrolments, but also increased diversity in tertiary education. For example, if we have more students who are Māori, Pasifika, older, have disabilities, or are the first in their family to engage in tertiary study, then that would equal success.’

Gee says that claiming failure of the policy after only 6 months of implementation is unhelpful.

‘You cannot evaluate a policy after just 6 months. The benefits of free tertiary education will take time to be realised. Less student debt means that when fees-free students graduate they’ll be better equipped to get on with their lives quicker including buying a home, having kids and saving for their retirement.’

‘Fees-free also sends a message to potential students (and their parents) that tertiary education is a worthy investment. This is particularly relevant for those from families with no tertiary education background or in the regions. Education is the great social leveller and we all have a right to take part in it.’

Gee says free tertiary education is only one part of the vision for an accessible education for all.

‘Free tertiary education, like any other policy, is no silver bullet. If a more accessible education is our goal then there is more we can do, such as improving careers education, as well as celebrating those who decide to learn rather than earn for a few years to make a greater contribution to New Zealand.’


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Joseph Cederwall: WOMAD - Love Will Lead Us Home

The events of Friday, moments before the gates opened cast an entirely different shadow over the festival and highlight the importance of such events as a way of growing closer together. More>>

Howard Davis: The Puzzling Poetic Praxis of J.H. Prynne - Pt II

Given the historical and socio-cultural context from which Prynne's poetry emerged, a panoptical perspective on what his poems might be trying to say is indispensable to its comprehension. With some sequences this can be an exceptionally demanding challenge, requiring a great deal of perseverance, concentration, and endurance. More>>

Truth And Beauty: 2019 Ockham Book Award Finalists

The Cage by Lloyd Jones, This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman, All This By Chance by Vincent O’Sullivan, and The New Ships by Kate Duignan are shortlisted for the $53,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize. More>>


Measles: Two Measles Cases Notified In Auckland

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is asking people who may have been exposed to measles in three public locations to be alert to symptoms. More>>




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland