A recent survey of Canterbury University students condemns the Labour-led Government’s fees free policy, National’s spokesperson for Tertiary Education Shane Reti says.

“Only six per cent of students surveyed said the Government’s policy was critical to them enrolling, but these students were also more likely to drop out of the courses they were enrolled in and achieve lower grades,” Dr Reti says.

“The very expensive fees free policy has had no impact at all. Most students at university were always going to attend, and the Minister’s own numbers show there are 2400 fewer students in tertiary education and training than a year ago.

“Taxpayers are forking out $2.8 billion for six per cent of students who may not complete their studies. This is simply going backwards.

“With the Government gearing up to extend the policy to include second and third year student, this is not good value for taxpayer’s money and it’s time to admit failure.

“The fees free policy has done nothing but reduce the number of students studying and increase the number having a holiday courtesy of the taxpayer. Rather than overpromising, the Government should be spending this money in education areas where it is really needed.

“Confirmation of wasted tertiary spending is discouraging in the current climate of the Government’s tertiary reforms. St John has said they will lose funds to provide emergency rural ambulance services, employers are telling us they will not rehire apprentices, and the Minister has confirmed there will be significant job losses.

“Mr Hipkins needs to immediately reconsider his ill-thought out bribe before Kiwis spend billions more on years two and three. National will release an education policy document later this year on how we will support learners across the sector with a better, higher quality education experience.”


Early Influences of the Fees-Free Policy on University Students in Aotearoa New Zealand.



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