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BUDGET 2001: Access to quality learning - Fees

24 May 2001

Access to quality learning for the knowledge society

Increased funding for tertiary institutions to freeze their fees again next year and a package of measures to ensure teaching and research quality are provided in Budget 2001.

An additional $220.7 million has been allocated over the next four years to support the Government's commitment to improving standards in tertiary education and to cut the cost to students.

"The Government wants to hold fees again in 2002. We will fund all growth in student numbers and are investing $36.9 million this year on top of the $31.8 million set aside in the last Budget. This adds up to a total fee stabilisation offer next year of 5.1 per cent above 2000 rates to those institutions which commit to keeping their fees at current levels.

"We are also establishing a new contestable Centres of Research Excellence Fund worth $40.6m in operating expenditure over four years. There will also be a one-off $20m capital injection to invest in strategic research assets in the first year.

"To have access to the fund, an institution will have to agree to stabilise its fees," Mr Maharey said.

Other new quality initiatives funded in the Budget included:
- Four new tertiary teaching awards, worth $50,000 each, to be awarded annually to out-standing tertiary teachers;
- The publication of an annual awards book to promote best practice across the sector;
- Funding for the Office of the Ombudsmen to investigate tertiary education complaints and to work more closely with institutions in addressing complaints;
- A new training programme to strengthen governance in public tertiary institutions;
- The creation of another 4000 places annually to allow 5000 low-income New Zealanders to receive free comprehensive career guidance and;
- The continuation of Career Services successful CareerPoint 0800 information line.

Contact: Michael Gibbs [press secretary] 04 471-9154 or 021-270-9115

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