Thanks to purplepick @ Flickr for the photo

Failing students identified prior to loans cuts

Steven Joyce the minister for tertiary education has released information showing how many students are failing their tertiary education courses. This information is important because of the government’s drive to restrict student loan funding to students who have failed to perform.

His data shows that nearly 10,000 part-time university students, or 19 percent, failed more than half of their courses in 2008. Nearly 30,000 part-time polytechnics students (28 percent), and nearly 5,000 part-time wānanga students (30 percent), failed over half their courses. Full-time students had slightly lower failure rates in 2008. Just under 11,000 full time university students (12 percent) failed more than half their courses, compared to 12,000 polytechnic students (26 percent), and 3,000 wānanga students (24 percent).

Mr Joyce says that the data does not represent the number of students affected by the student performance requirement for access to Government provided student loans. Because not all students choose to access student loans, student performance will be assessed when the student has completed 1.6 EFTS worth of study.

The government estimates that it will save $137.8 million over four years with its new policy to restrict loans to students who pass more than half their papers.

The fact that part-time students failed more consistently than their full-time peers could confirm one of the concerns that student representatives have raised: namely, that reducing student loan eligibility to students who fail papers could unduly affect part-time students.

A 2009 Ministry of Education report notes that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of part-time study in the OECD and suggested that, for some part-time students at least, gaining a qualification was not their intention. The report’s author, David Scott, concludes that “qualification completion will continue to remain an important indicator of system performance in comparisons within and between countries. However, traditional measures of completion often don’t capture the full picture of success. This is particularly so in New Zealand because of the extent of those studying part-time and those changing track.”

Thanks to purplepick @Flickr for the photo

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