- Date published:
9:02 am, January 22nd, 2016 - 138 comments
Categories: education, labour, tertiary education - Tags: chris hipkins, good idea, student debt, student fees, student loans, tertiary education
Education is a public good. We all benefit, socially and economically, from a well educated populace. A couple of days I wrote about a disastrous fall in student numbers that is undermining tertiary education in NZ.
It isn’t the same data set, but this a related 2014 government report starts with an interesting graph:
The net fall following 2010 was not unexpected:
Budget 2010: Move to free up course-fee increases rattles student unions
The Government has ditched the “fees maxima” policy which caps tertiary education fees at a set monetary level and will instead allow institutions to raise all course fees by up to 4 per cent from next year.
The change, made in yesterday’s Budget, has prompted concern from student unions …
He said overall the Budget was a double blow for students, who faced higher fees as well as stricter criteria for student loans and allowances.
Falling student numbers are a problem. Rising fees and debt are a problem, both as a matter of social justice, and because it contributes to falling numbers. For these reasons I was hugely encouraged to see this proposal from Labour yesterday:
Tertiary fees ‘likely to drop under Labour’
Tertiary fees would likely drop significantly under a Labour government as part of a rethink to address increasing student debt, the party’s new tertiary education spokesman says.
Chris Hipkins, who picked up the portfolio after a reshuffle of Labour’s caucus rankings in late November, said nominal student loan debt would pass $15 billion this year — and that should ring alarm bells.
Alarm bells should have rung long, long, long before that ridiculous figure.
He said the Government was not dealing with the “fundamental issue”, which was that the increasing cost of getting a tertiary education was driving the rise in student borrowing.
And the fall in numbers. So reducing fees is a good start. But as an end-goal I’m in favour of free tertiary education. Which Hipkins didn’t rule out:
Germany has recently abolished tuition fees. Asked if Labour would consider that, Mr Hipkins said “a range of options” were being considered. “We will certainly be looking at ways to bring down the cost of tertiary education.”
More like this from Labour please.