Labour announce affordable tertiary education

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, August 29th, 2017 - 54 comments
Categories: education, jacinda ardern, labour, tertiary education - Tags: , , ,

As the Nats stand exposed in another apparent dirty politics hit, Labor gets on with the job of winning the election. Jacinda Ardern today announced new policy:

Making tertiary education and training affordable for all

Despite Labour’s interest-free loans, cost remains a major barrier to post-school education. 65 per cent of parents list cost as a reason young people do not go into post-school learning, and 44 per cent of students report they do not have enough money to meet their basic needs. The cost barrier comprises both fees, which are up over 40 per cent since 2008, and rising living costs such as rent.

Study debt holds people back for years after they leave education. On average, people take eight years to clear their debt. Repayments make it harder to save and this is a contributing factor in plummeting home ownership among under 40s.

Labour will make tertiary education and training affordable for all by:

• Increasing living costs support with both a $50 a week boost to student allowances and a $50 a week lift to the maximum that can be borrowed for living costs
• Restoring post-graduate students’ eligibility for student allowances
• Restoring the eligibility of students in long courses, such as medicine, to access student allowances or loans beyond seven years FTE study
• Accelerating the three years’ free policy, starting with one year fees free full-time equivalent for everyone starting tertiary education or training for the first time from 1 January 2018, and extending this to three years’ free by 2024.

This policy will mean that young people can better afford to live while studying and will leave study with less debt. …

54 comments on “Labour announce affordable tertiary education”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    Compare with:

    Green party Tertiary Education Policy:

    NZ First policy.

    TOP policy

    They all seem to be going in a similar direction, but the differences are in the detail.

    • Macro 1.1

      Exactly, I am firmly of the opinion that both the Greens and NZ First could work with Labour to progress a mix of these Policies.
      The sticking point would be the rather flaccid stand by Labour on Charter Schools,
      which both the other two parties oppose.

      Ploughing more money into the failed charter school programme is a mistake, the Green Party said today.

      https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/more-charter-schools-not-answer

      New Zealand First is strongly opposed to “charter” or “partnership” schools; public funding for these privately owned profit making opportunities would be ended by New Zealand First.

      http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/education

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        Nah, that’s not a sticking point.

        Firstly, the charter school thing is largely a policy silo – it doesn’t impact health, fiscal, or even tertiary ed policy. The only reason it’s even an issue for Labour is that Maori leveraged a shit tory system and used it to their advantage to make a couple of schools more specific to their needs. Good on them for actually managing to polish a turd, too.

        Secondly, the “flaccid stand” is simply to reassess the nature of special character schools that have been catering to religious needs for yonks – no reason they shouldn’t actually be catering to cultural needs, too. It’s possibly a change that should have been made decades ago, if the current special character school concept is less suitable for Maori than a fucking charter school.

        But even if it were a sticking point, the fact is that on tertiary policy Labour and its coalition partners are all pushing in the same direction. So they can disagree about charter/sc schools, while getting things done on other policies. I doubt we’d see Labour siding with the nats to keep charter schools as-is, anyway.

  2. It’s a step, probably several actually, in the right direction.

    Need to aim for tertiary study being available to everyone at any time in their life. When someone loses their job due to redundancy, have kids and a mortgage to care for then they’re a) likely to need retraining into a new field and b) need to have all of those needs covered as well. Just trying to get into the same work probably won’t happen – the work situation is changing with changing skills and a redundancy probably indicates that that job no longer exists in the workforce.

    • xanthe 2.1

      Very true that this needs to be universal for whatever reason or time of life that retraining is necessary.

      I would like to see a study on the health costs of people who need to change jobs for health reasons but are unable too. Many know their job is killing/crippling them but cannot make the change. Certainly an immediate case can be made for workers who are made redundant getting education and living support.

      of course a properly worked out UBI funded from progressive taxation would make all this largely unnecessary.

      • Many know their job is killing/crippling them but cannot make the change.

        One of my nephew’s is in that position now.

        of course a properly worked out UBI funded from progressive taxation would make all this largely unnecessary.

        QFT

      • Siobhan 2.1.2

        A few people correctly connecting Universal Benefits, UBI, free education and Progressive Taxation on The Standard today.
        The worrying thing is most western countries consider they already have ‘Progressive Taxation’. Infact online, America is cited as an example of ‘Progressive Taxation’.
        So maybe, before we agree to the UBI etc, we better make darned sure the powers that be understand what the Left actually mean by Progressive Taxation before we jump into this brave new world.

    • patricia bremner 2.2

      This is huge. It will change many lives.

  3. Enough is Enough 3

    Good policy.

    It can be made even better though.

    I would also like to see graduates benefit from this as well. There is no real reason why all current student debt should not be written off. That would change so many lives for the better with one stroke of the pen.

    • Carolyn_nth 3.1

      NZ First and the GP go some way towards debt right off.

      NZ First:

      Immediately introduce a dollar-for-dollar debt write-off scheme so that graduates in identified areas of workforce demand may trade a year’s worth of debt for each year of paid full-time work in New Zealand in that area.

      Green Party:

      A. Debt Write Of
      1. Explore options to introduce a debt write-off scheme that limits the individual
      burden of debt, while incentivising graduates to contribute to New Zealand after
      graduating

      B. Re-payment Options
      1. Ensure that repayment rates reflect borrowers’ ability to repay by adjusting the
      repayment thresholds to start at a higher income level, and introduce a
      progressive repayment scheme.

      2.Lengthen the repayment holiday for overseas borrowers to reflect the typical
      time spent by graduates overseas.

      3. Re-introduce a voluntary repayment bonus scheme.

    • McFlock 3.2

      Yeah, but it would also leave a $15billion hole in the government books.

      Yeah, I know it’s an accounting jizzfest and pretty meaningless in reality, but it would hand the initiative back to blinglish because the electorate don’t believe that. That’s why the Green policy is about “exploring” ways to write off some debt and make the repayment threshold higher, rather than wiping the lot off.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.2.1

        A student debt writeoff will probably stimulate the real economy rather well – not to mention the benefits from encouraging people to get educated – much more useful than blowing 1.6b on bailing out SCF and the like.

        • McFlock 3.2.1.1

          Yeah, but remember that, unless there’s a fundamental change, the reserve bank will just hike interest rates to hobble any “inflationary” stimulation.

          So there’s an order that reforms would best go in, even if there were the electoral will to go that far (and yes, frankly I think there should be a 1-2 term progression to make education totally taxpayer funded – like healthcare, incl dental).

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1

            Simply writing off the debt won’t produce any inflation – the money is already in circulation.

            It’s the increasing student debt that will be producing inflation.

            • McFlock 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Apart from the fact that tens of thousands of people will suddenly have an extra $100 or more in their pay packet that would otherwise be a pre-deducted loan repayment, you’d be right.

        • greg 3.2.1.2

          what your talking about is a debt jubilee the problem is the ones who have already paid off the student debt they will argue that they have been penalized for doing the right thing highly indebted home owners would have the same argument.
          what about house hold debt , i cant see how a debt right off for one group works while the working poor are expected to pay there debts.

          • greg 3.2.1.2.1

            debt is personal responsibility there is no free lunch you owe what you owe

            • In Vino 3.2.1.2.1.1

              Rubbish. The whole debt was wrong in the first place. Those who have paid off their so-called debt have actually done the wrong thing. This is because the neo-liberals conned enough people into believing that education is not a public good. They were utterly wrong – it is one of the greatest public goods that exist. Any introduction of winner-loser, self-interest, personal greed rewarded bullshit is a pox upon the face of human society.
              If you think that education is expensive, try ignorance. Ignorance is what has been forced upon our society as a whole ever since the introduction of student debt. Germany is a more successful economy than ours (they withstood and succeeded in absorbing the problems of former East Germany) and Germany has already had the foresight and deeper wisdom to make tertiary education free. Education is a public good, and a better-educated country like Germany will always beat a backward-thinking country like New Zealand unless people like you wake up, Greg.

            • greywarshark 3.2.1.2.1.2

              greg
              You owe what you have agreed to owe. For education, which is necessary for an integrated life, you don’t get much option for choice. But a country that wants to advance can decide what it wants to charge for and how much, and do the sums of the value to the country of an educated populace, and how much more independent people are when they have adequate education.

              There can be useful covenants – like having to do some on the job training in the country for instance, for one or two years. Seeing how things work in practice, gives depth and experience to the theory of education.

              Don’t present old precepts as being non-flexible. Your thoughts at present tend to show a reversion to early 20th century thinking so you aren’t adding useful input to TS.

              • In Vino

                You are kinder than I am greywarshark, but what you say is true. Doing the sums of the value to the country (I would say society) is the ultimate thing.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.2.2

            the problem is the ones who have already paid off the student debt they will argue that they have been penalized for doing the right thing

            I’m pretty sure that a few greedy scum will, as a matter of fact, do that. The rest of us won’t.

            i cant see how a debt right off for one group works while the working poor are expected to pay there debts.

            Quite often they’re the same group.

            • greg 3.2.1.2.2.1

              you borrow money you pay it back plain and simple
              there is always a counter party when some wanker defaults

              • In Vino

                It’s not that plain and simple. DTB has just made it clear (I think) that he has paid off his debt. He said “the rest of us.” Did you understand, Greg?

                • greg

                  thats why its called a loan its not a grant there is a moral hazard involved and as a tax payer i want my 15 billion back .

                  • greywarshark

                    greg
                    Oh ‘moral hazard’. I see you have had some higher education – the sort that comes skewed with moral weighting towards superiority and user pays and other neo lib sayings. It is not your 15 billion you burke.

                    And ‘as a taxpayer’, that term is a dead giveaway for a deadhead. So old-and-smarmy ACT and RW Nat. We are all taxpayers because we all pay 15% GST except for people at your level who are persuaded that you are to the country what nitrate is to grass. Fast-food extending to excess which extends to polluting good systems.

                    And a significant group of people at the top find that avoiding tax is a sport more interesting than chess, employ accountants and such to play it, charge their salary to expenses which are tax deductible, and manage to even get GST refunded, not like the lower-income class who confront and cough up out of their below OECD average wages.

                    We Are All Taxpayers. So don’t prate on like Little Lord Fauntleroy who lives high and looks down on the low.

                  • In Vino

                    Greg – Wow! you want a 15 billion refund? Go for it.
                    But you don’t mention the utterly indispensable benefits that education gives society. Is it beyond your intellectual grasp to understand that without a working education system you might still be lighting candles at night-time?

                    • greg

                      i am arguing students borrow money spend it on booze and burn coaches and we tax payers fund there life style know the little pricks want to default where is the justice

                    • McFlock

                      There’s a reason dentists and doctors cost so much these days.

                      Have a wee think as to what it might be, Greg.

                    • In Vino

                      So students borrow money to spend it on booze??
                      You know nothing, greg, and are no longer worthy of reply

                    • greywarshark

                      In Vino
                      I fear that I can bounce your phrase right back at you with “You know nothing”. You see I think that greg does know what he is talking about and may have taken part in over drinking sessions himself and now be criticising others for also doing that. And that you and we do not know what knowledge he has about anything.

                      He sounds knowing: You say, ‘Have a wee think as to what it might be, Greg.’ but if you just say ‘think’ you will be encouraging him in some useful activity that he is unused to.

                      He thinks that TS is a useful place to let his thoughts run wild and pollute the place. Take them to thought-school first Greg and come back when you have them under reasoned control. Goodbye Greg I hope.

                  • There’s no moral hazard involved in supporting the community to better itself.

                    There’s a hell of a lot involved in catering to the greedy who don’t want to support the society that provides for them.

              • you borrow money you pay it back plain and simple

                No, it’s not that simple. For two reasons:

                1. Plain old capitalism: When you loan someone money you’re taking the risk that you’re not going to get it back. Or are you going to tell us that you don’t believe in capitalism?
                2. The most important reason: A society should always make the best education available to it’s citizens free of charge. An educated populace is a necessity – not a nice too have. This means that the ‘loans’ for studying were inappropriate, should never have come into existence and thus should simply be annulled.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.2.2

        Not to mention that the richest 200 or so kiwis have over $80b between them – and I very much doubt they would be poverty-striken (or their kids miss out on education) if $15b was taken from them for the benefit of the community.

  4. Ad 4

    A great policy and just the start that New Zealand young people need.

    Hope those young people get out there and cast their vote this election.

  5. Michael 5

    OK but not really going to get the young’uns stampeding into the booths to tick the box next to the B team logo. Labour faces a bigger problem capturing the student vote (it has no chance of persuading other young people, such as the working poor, to vote at all) – enrolments are low and haven’t been chased vigorously. I used to do this, back when I was naive and idealistic (and imagined there was such a thing as a Labour Party), and I know how much effort has to go into getting students to enrol, even before trying to persuade them to vote for a particular Party. AFAICS, that work hasn’t been done to any real extent around the campuses and it’s too late now.

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    I disagreed with this policy until I read the statistics (which I assume are correct unlike Ntls housing mess).

  7. indiana 7

    I’m sure there is more detail, but shouldn’t it be free only if you complete your whole degree? Otherwise it just looks like a way for a government to hide unemployment.

  8. greg 8

    they should be paying interest how about savers we are being screwed by these debtors there should be higher interest rates

  9. greg 9

    how about apprentices students want a free lunch that isn’t fare

    • McFlock 9.1

      pre-apprentice and block courses would qualify.

      Aren’t apprentices paid in the workplace?

      • In Vino 9.1.1

        Greg is now deliberately obtuse. Is he really the working guy with bad spelling that he pretends to be?
        My troll alert bell is ringing.

  10. binders full of women 10

    They should make the third year free once you/ve passed… Not the first year

  11. Cinny 11

    Now that’s what I’m talking about !!!! Education !!!

    This policy won’t benefit me directly but by crikey it will change the lives of many for the better. When I’m old and needing help it’s going to be fantastic to know there will probably be loads of medical professionals around, because paying to learn a skill won’t be so much of an issue.

    Free tertiary education will improve any economy tremendously, education also lowers the crime rate, reduces poverty and improves the health of a nation, and I’m down with that big time 🙂

    AWESOMESAUCE LABOUR, thanks for this, it’s so important and I know we can’t have it all at once, but this is a super start.

  12. millsy 12

    A few years ago, I would have been over the moon about this policy.

    Now, I am not too sure. Wiping fees may have a feel good factor but there are other issues that need to be addressed, ie the competitive model, public v private provision, whether the needs of overseas students are been catered to over the needs of local students, whether on the job training is more suitable than doing a course, whether polytechs should still be allowed to offer degrees, likelyhood of getting a job after graduating, stuff like that.

    Also, there is the issue of whether students are being displaced by migrant labour.

  13. patricia bremner 13

    Tonight some excited students and families are realising they have now have choices.
    Great Policy, and a leap forward. A hundred a week is huge for a student. It represents 10 + hours of work.

    When I trained, (in the 60s) my board was paid, my books and lectures were free, and I received a small stipend.

    That enabled poorer families to aspire to further education. It was huge in changing lives.

    This is a step towards those golden days. I was so lucky!!!

  14. greg 14

    we could bundle all the student debt up put a decent coupon rate of 20 percent on the security and flog them off to pension funds get the money back that way.

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