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Govt Giant Steps To Affordable Tertiary Education

Government's Giant Steps To Affordable Tertiary Education

Giant steps are being taken by the new Government to make quality tertiary education more affordable, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey says.

Mr Maharey addressed the New Zealand University Students' Association conference at Otago University this morning, becoming the first education minister to do so in seven years. New Zealand's tertiary system is on the verge of fees freeze in 2001, with every public institution agreeing to freeze their fees and compulsory charges next year. This ends a decade of fee rises which have seen average fees rise 180% (from a standard fee of $1,250 in 1990, to an average of over $3,500 this year).

"The Government has begun the process of turning around the massive increases in fees that students have been hit with over the 1990s. Coupled with the abolition of interest on loans while students are studying, this Government has made real inroads into improving access to tertiary education as we promised before the election."

An additional $664 million is being invested in tertiary education over the next four years. Mr Maharey said the Government was now moving to address quality issues and to provide strategic leadership for the future development of the tertiary sector.

"In coming budgets we intend to keep costs down and to address quality issues and the shape of our tertiary system. It is critical that students get access to good quality, modern and relevant qualifications that equip them for life in this century.

"We promised students we would be the Government of constant improvement. Nine months into our first term in office students can see we are keeping our word," Steve Maharey said.

Attached is a summary table detailing new tertiary initiatives introduced by the Labour-Alliance Government.

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New spending on tertiary education: 2000/01 to 2003/04

Initiative 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 Four Year
(GST incl) (GST incl) (GST incl) (GST incl) Totals
Fees Stabilisation - Tertiary Tuition Subsidies 15,130 30,705 31,372 32,108 109,315
Dentistry Subsidies 2,782 2,782 2,782 2,782 11,128
Modern Apprenticeships Programme 5,589 10,863 12,872 12,872 42,196
Industry Training Fund Baseline Increase 5,000 6,000 6,000 6,000 23,000
Export Education Strategy
(Vote: Education component) 300 - - - 300
Maori Tertiary Education Strategy 200 200 - - 400
Tertiary Resourcing 152 152 152 152 608
Equity Initiatives 500 1,000 1,000 1,000 3,500
Careers Service 1,288 1,642 1,642 1,642 6,214
Student Job Search (1) 1,261 598 598 598 3,055
Increasing Skill New Zealand's Capacity 200 306 306 306 1,118
Adult & Community Education 2,000 2,000 2,000 2,000 8,000
Research on Pacific Island participation patterns 50 50 100
Training Incentive Allowance 4,100 9,300 9,300 9,300 32,000
TEAC (2) 808 1,500 1,000 3,308
Student Loan Initiatives (3) 92,134 103,251 109,880 114,920 420,185
Tertiary Initiatives 131,494 170,349 178,904 183,680 664,427

(1) Funded through a fiscally neutral transfer.
(2) In 2000/01, the total cost of TEAC is $1.5 million. Compensatory savings for the bulk of this cost have been identified elsewhere.
(3) The Student Loan Scheme costs are costs of interest write-off and bad debt provision, and are pre BEFU forecasts.

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