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International students deserve better

24 August 2006

International students deserve better

Concerns raised by student groups that international students are being treated as cash cows by the University of Auckland and other institutions have been echoed by Green Party Tertiary Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei.

The University of Auckland Council this week voted to increase international student fees by 5 percent across the board, and by 17 percent for medical students, even though international students already pay on average more than $20,000 per year in tuition fees. Under the new rules, international medical students will be paying $45,000 per year.

"Contrary to popular belief, international students are not all extremely wealthy, and to continue to treat them year by year as a limitless revenue stream is exploitative and near-sighted of tertiary institutions," Mrs Turei says.

"International student numbers are falling, and increased fees will hardly induce more to enrol. Institutions are clearly raising fees to attempt to offset the loss of revenue from falling rolls, but if they continue to do so, they will actually exacerbate the problem by making themselves dependent on a vulnerable revenue stream, while at the same time driving that revenue stream away.

"The Government is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars marketing our tertiary education sector overseas, but that money would be far better invested in the sector itself, to ensure a quality education, adequate pastoral care, and to help keep fees down. If these things are taken care of, our enhanced reputation as a safe place to go for a quality education will help to take care of falling student numbers.

"International students in New Zealand do not have an easy ride. News today that An Ying International Financial Limited, a group of finance companies which looked after funds for a large number of Chinese international students, has gone bust, leaving many students without funds, is one example.

"Rather than hitting vulnerable students with ever increasing fees, we should be endeavouring to ensure they receive the best education and care. International students pay handsomely for their education in New Zealand. They deserve better," Mrs Turei says.


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