Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU.
Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the government does not put in money to reduce the financial pressure on tertiary institutions says, TEU national president Sandra Grey.
“Students should never have been bankrolling government underfunding with fee rises year after year of 4 percent. And they should not be bankrolling that underfunding with annual fee rises of 3 percent either.”
NZUSA president Rory McCourt says this change for students is nothing. A BA student at Auckland will save about $60 next year in fees, but their rent will rise over $400.
McCourt says freezing the parental income threshold on student allowances for five years will mean fewer and fewer students will have access to the allowance.
“Fees will increase fractionally more slowly, but more students will clock up bigger debts, getting educations from institutions with less money to spend on quality.”
“At the end of this budget students will still have $14 billion of debt and rising.”
Grey says many students cannot afford to pay more for public education, but they also cannot afford to see the quality of their education deteriorate because the government has lowered the cap on fee rises without putting in money to cover that reduction.
“This budget cuts tuition funding to polytechnics by $1 million. Polytechnics will struggle to give next year’s students the same education as this year’s students because they will have much less money.”