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Government delivering on tertiary promises

23 June 2000 Media Statement

Government delivering on tertiary promises – Maharey

The Government has put a stop to National's annual tertiary funding cuts which fuelled the large fees increases of the 1990s, Steve Maharey told polytechnic student union representatives in Taupo this evening.

Mr Maharey was speaking at the Aotearoa Post-Compulsory Student Union national conference in Taupo. Fees rose dramatically from 1990 when a standard fee of $1,250 was charged to the current average fee of approximately $3,500. New funding provided in the Budget last week will see the first per student funding increase in a decade and should lead to fees being frozen next year, as a first step to bringing them down over time.

"This Government has put a stop to sky-rocketing tertiary fees and in doing so we have kept our promise to students and their parents.

"Funding provided in the Budget will allow tertiary institutions to hold their fees stable at 2000 levels in 2001.

"The Government will be making a formal offer to tertiary institutions shortly and we expect to know by September which institutions will hold their fees.

"Our offer is conditional. Only those institutions which agree to hold their fees will get the additional funding.

"Students can expect transparency and openness from institutions on the fees they will charge in 2001. There will be no ability to trade off decreases in some courses against increases in others.

"In future budgets we intend to bring fee levels down as funding allows. We know that significant additional expenditure will be required to make a big impact on fee levels so the Government is not promising massive change immediately.

"Students have waited a long time for a Government committed to quality education and improving access. The Budget brings to an end nine long years of hostile indifference to the needs of tertiary students," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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