Student-allowance move not enough
Association of University Staff
Student-allowance move good, but funding must increase
In light of yesterday’s announcement by the prime minister that the Labour party proposes to phase out parental income testing on student allowances, the Association of University Staff (AUS) warns that the government must also act to increase funding to the university sector.
AUS academic vice-president, Dr Grant Duncan, said that, while AUS applauds moves to keep the cost of tertiary education as low as possible for students, it is vital that additional government funding be provided to universities in order to maintain the high quality and good reputation of the New Zealand university system.
Dr Duncan said that the cost of running universities has increased at a rate at least 1.6 times higher than the general rate of inflation for the economy as a whole, but that university income fell in real terms by over $20 million per year over the last six years.
“Not only must university education be affordable for students, it must also be of a high quality if New Zealand’s goals for economic and social transformation are to be realised,” he said. “According to research by the University of Auckland, New Zealand university income was, in 2006, $2,146 per student or $223 million in total lower than it would have been if income had been indexed to increases in university costs since 1991, and this must be remedied.”
Dr Duncan has called on all political parties to announce policies that would guarantee a greater investment in universities.