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Limited Increase In University Funding

Limited Increase In University Funding

The one-off increase in university funding in the Budget at least ensures that overall per student funding will keep abreast of inflation, the Executive Director of the NZ Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, Mr Lindsay Taiaroa, says.

An increase of 0.9 per cent for 2005 only means the total increase in university student funding next year will be 3.2 per cent.

However, this welcome development did not disguise the fact that the Government’s moves to rein in poor quality spending on community education had been “too little, too late”. The resulting blowout in the tertiary education budget had contributed to a further year’s delay in implementing the funding category review which could address some anomalies in the tertiary education funding system.

Mr Taiaroa said the continuation of the fee maxima policy was regrettable in the face of clear evidence that the policy was unworkable. Some 75 per cent of courses offered by private education providers had exemptions so tuition fees and course costs could be above the permitted maximum. The corresponding figure for polytechnics was 25 per cent yet universities only had five per cent of their courses exempt from the fee maxima provisions.

The Budget continued the situation whereby the Government controlled the major revenue streams for universities through funding and tuition fees. A major investment by Government was still required to keep New Zealand universities in touch with their Australian counterparts which had much higher per capita funding levels.

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