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Fees reduced for 10,000 students

30 July 2004 Media Statement

Fees reduced for 10,000 students

Fees will be reduced for more than 10,000 students next year whose courses were temporarily exempted from the fee maxima policy in 2004.

The government introduced the fee and course cost maxima system this year to provide students with predictability about the level of tertiary fees they would be expected to pay over the length of their qualifications. Fees are not able to rise more than five per cent a year until they reach the new maxima, which are adjusted for inflation each year.

The new system covered approximately 80 per cent of courses this year, while long-term arrangements were agreed for the remaining 20 per cent of courses with fees above the new maxima levels, or offered by private training establishments. These arrangements have now been finalised, with providers being required to reduce their fees by 5 per cent a year until they reach the maxima.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said the finalised arrangements were fair to both students and providers.

“The fee maxima system has established a solid middle ground between the uncontrolled fee rises students faced annually during the 1990s and the take-it-or-leave-it fee freeze deals the government negotiated with the tertiary sector in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

“Fees have increased only modestly this year with the introduction of the maxima system and there are no indications providers will be looking for anything other than modest increases next year. Students and their parents now have certainty about fees when they are thinking about beginning tertiary studies.

“The arrangements announced today will deliver fee reductions to 10,904 equivalent full-time students next year. They will join the 80 per cent of all students whose fees are already regulated by the fee and course costs maxima system.

“A small group of courses will remain exempt from the maxima system in 2005. This is because they are either part of a review of the funding categories or have particularly high delivery costs which justify their fees remaining at current levels. Examples of these courses include second language teaching (cost category being reviewed) and outdoor recreation (high cost of delivery).

“The initial fee maxima policy covers the years 2004-2006. A review of how the policy has been working will be undertaken in its final year,” Steve Maharey said.


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