Removing cap on fees will knee-cap students
27 November 2008
Removing cap on fees will further knee-cap students
The Green Party is pleased the Government will not burden students with more debt by abolishing the cap on student fees.
A call from the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee for universities to set the cost of courses - getting rid of the cap - will lead to increased student debt, and must be rejected.
"The vice-chancellors are absolutely right that our universities face serious underfunding, but to suggest we can fix this by taking money away from student support is deeply flawed," Green Tertiary Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.
"Student debt remains a millstone around the necks of a generation who've had to borrow just to pay the rent. We need to invest more in our students, not less. Our tertiary institutions also need more funding, but it should come from Government, not students.
"The vice-chancellors' plan would see higher fees, and less financial support for students, simply moving the burden of underfunding. Student debt reached crisis level many years ago - now it's over $10 billion - and providing a clear pathway out is vital for the future of New Zealand, Mrs Turei says.
"We know that student debt impacts on decisions our young people make for many years after they graduate - whether to move overseas, have a family, or buy a house.
"John Key campaigned on keeping our young people in New Zealand and now it's time for him to put his money where his mouth is and commit to tackling student debt through increased, not decreased, student support. If the new Government is serious about making this country more attractive to live in and learn in, then now is the time for a living allowance for all students."
New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee deputy chair Derek McCormack has said that universities are part of the nation's infrastructure that builds economic and social prosperity, and the Green Party agrees.
"Now, more than ever, it is of paramount importance that we invest in the education, skills and research we will need to grapple with the tremendous global challenges we face. However, let's not pretend that we can invest in our future without investing in our people."