30 July 2017
UnitedFuture leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has launched the party’s tertiary education and student support today.
“UnitedFuture proposes a bold new approach to tertiary education policy, which would see New Zealand finally offer free education at every level of study.
“Tertiary education is a transformational tool both for the individuals who engage in it, but also for our country as we reap the benefits of the innovation and skills our graduates bring us.
“The flagship of this policy is a proposal of a zero-fees policy for tertiary education in New Zealand in place of Student Allowances,” said Mr Dunne.
“This would mean that the average student engaged in tertiary education will leave with the only debt against their name the living costs that they choose to borrow.
Supporting Students: UnitedFuture would seek to:
- Remove tuition fees for tertiary education in New Zealand, accompanied by a push to increase the quality of tertiary education and protect the value of New Zealand degrees.
- The zero fees policy would mean that students would only borrow living costs, rather than the crippling loans which are currently being incurred to cover fees as well. A zero fees policy also addresses one of the illusions of the current policy, where it is assumed that tuition fees cover all or most of the costs of study, when in fact the taxpayer already covers the majority of tuition costs;
- Abolish the Student Allowance, as a way to help fund the zero fees policy. The student allowance system has become patently unfair, relying on means testing of parental income until a student turns 24, and enabling the wealthy to receive allowances where their parents are able to reduce their taxable income;
- Align the maximum living costs entitlement with the average rental price in the area a student is enrolled in a tertiary education provider, ensuring that the true cost of living is reflected in the amount available to borrow, rather than assuming costs remain the same for both Auckland and Invercargill
- Increase the focus on repayment compliance by establishing an expected voluntary repayment threshold for graduated students in work with interest being added to the year, pegged at inflation, but no additional penalty payments, if that threshold is not met. This will encourage repayments, where the current system encourages paying as little as required.
“This policy will provide much greater supports for students engaged in Polytechnics, Institutes, Wānanga, Universities or other tertiary providers.
“We follow comparable models across Europe in offering lower barriers for all tertiary education in order to deliver a better tomorrow for New Zealand,” said Mr Dunne.
UnitedFuture is also proposing policies seeking to increase tertiary achievement across the board
Targeting Tertiary Achievement: UnitedFuture would seeks to:
- Promote greater awareness amongst young people of the opportunities afforded by vocational training, such as apprenticeships;
- Encourage all young people under 25 who are not at school to either be “earning or learning” (i.e. in some form of education/training or work) and support initiatives such as the Mayoral Taskforce for Jobs.
- Encourage networks and co-operation between tertiary providers and industry to ensure that skills taught are relevant and required in the future labour market;
- Ensure that tertiary education instructors undergo a minimum amount of training in teaching, and require teaching performance to be monitored and included as a factor in promotion decisions;
“This is a tertiary plan that recognises the transformational power of tertiary education and seeks to make it available and accessible to every New Zealander,” Mr Dunne concluded.