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Cutting the cost of tertiary education

Hon Steve Maharey
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)

15 June 2000


Cutting the cost of tertiary education

Students can look forward to fees being frozen next year as part of a series of initiatives being taken to improve access to tertiary education.

Cutting the cost to students of tertiary education was a key pledge made by both coalition parties before the general election. Initiatives announced in the Budget will see an additional $664 million invested over a four year period.

"Tertiary fees sky-rocketed over the 1990s. There is no doubt that cost is a barrier to tertiary education and that access is being increasingly rationed by wealth.

"Budget 2000 begins the process of bringing fees back within reasonable levels. The Government will fund all growth in student numbers next year at an estimated cost of $409 million through to 2003. In addition, we are providing $30.5m to fund a 2.3% per student funding increase in 2001 to those institutions which commit to holding their 2001 fees stable at 2000 levels.

"Tertiary funding rates for 2001 are being also announced with the budget. This is considerably earlier than in previous years and will give tertiary providers the information they need to plan for next year. The new rates confirm earlier decisions to complete the abolition of the discriminatory StudyRight funding differential introduced by National and to increase subsidies for dentistry education, enabling the lower fees charged this year to be held.

"The Government is committed to increasing opportunities for New Zealanders to build their skill levels. An additional $32 million will be invested over four years to improve access to the Training Incentive Allowance for domestic purposes, widows and invalids beneficiaries.

"Tertiary education is one of the most powerful tools the Government will use to close the gaps. We are investing $4 million over the next four years on developing equity initiatives, a Mäori tertiary education strategy and identifying barriers to Pacific people's participation.

"Opportunities for summer employment are important to provide students with work experience and with savings for their coming year's study. Priority has been given to spending $3 million over four years in Student Job Search to assist students to find employment over the summer vacation period," Steve Maharey said.


ENDS

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