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Fee predictability promised


Fee predictability promised

Achieving long-term predictability about the level of fees charged to tertiary students is a key goal of this government, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Speaking to the New Zealand University Students’ Association conference this afternoon Steve Maharey said the annual fee freeze agreements struck with tertiary institutions in 2000, 2001 and 2002 can no longer be used as the mechanism to control tuition fees. Legislation passed by Parliament in the lead-up to Christmas now empowers the government to set maximum fee levels institutions can charge. The first fee ‘maxima’ will be set as part of the 2003 Budget for the 2004 academic year, as well as indicative fees for 2005 and 2006.

Steve Maharey said it is essential that students and their parents are able to accurately calculate what the cost of gaining a qualification will be.

“The cost of tertiary study is a significant investment in your future. Until the new government froze fees, students and their parents had no idea what the cost of study would be, with fees rising on average 14 percent per year during the 1990s.

“Freezing fees on an annual basis was an interim measure to keep the costs to students of studying down. We can’t lock institutions into a schedule of fees they set at the end of the 1990s. That is why we will be setting maximum fee levels in the future.

“Advice from a working party of tertiary sector representatives, including students, has identified the key criteria the government will use when setting fee ‘maxima’: student affordability: students need to have a reasonable degree of certainty about fee levels before they begin studying and they should not be set at a level that discourages students from enrolling; provider capability: income from fees, plus the government tuition subsidy, must ensure adequate income for tertiary providers to offer quality education and research; provider flexibility: maximum fee levels should be designed to provide as much flexibility for tertiary providers as possible; simplicity: maximum fee levels should be simple to administer;

. . / 2 transparency: maximum feel levels must be easy to understand; and ease of implementation: maximum fee levels must be able to implemented relatively easily.

“Students have experienced a significantly improved policy environment since the change of government in 1999. The Labour-led government recognises that education is the passport all New Zealanders need to participate in the knowledge society.

“Along with the other changes we have introduced since 1999, like no-interest-while-studying, enabling students to accurately judge the costs of getting a qualification is an essential tool in encouraging greater numbers to enrol,” Steve Maharey said.

The Fee Maxima Reference Group Report is available on-line at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/maharey


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