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September 22, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Vice-Chancellors and students bicker over money

In response to a recently released Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report, the vice-chancellors of the country’s universities have urged the government to invest scarce tertiary education dollars into universities rather than individual students.

The OECD report, ‘Education at a Glance 2008,’ showed that in 2005, student subsidies accounted for over 40 per cent of the government’s spending on tertiary education, placing New Zealand’s spending as the second highest of all OECD countries. The OECD average was 18 per cent.

Roger Field, chair of the New Zealand Vice- Chancellors Committee (NZVCC), said that the provision of student support was “more than adequate,” while universities needed more public investment.

“For New Zealand universities, the underlying issue is the balance between quality and affordability,” he said. “If the pendulum swings too far one way, university education will be affordable for students but the quality of that education will be compromised.”

New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) co-president Joey Falloon, however, said that much of the government support given to students was in the form of loans for fees that went directly to institutions.

Earlier in the year, various media reports alleged that the government was considering using the universal student allowance as an election pledge. In response, Field also commented that there was some concern among the vice-chancellors that during the election campaign, decisions that were “not in the best long-term interests of university education and its quality in New Zealand” might be made.

However, Falloon disagreed, saying that he believed the idea of a universal student allowance was valid. While the government already subsidised students at a higher rate than other countries, he said, several other countries charged no fees at all.

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  1. Peter Manglethwaite says:

    Here is a way for the universities to get more money from the government, albeit indirectly: RAISE FEES! The higher fees go, the more money the uni gets and the better quality our university and education becomes… right?

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