NZ fixes fee limits as freeze is lifted

May 30, 2003

Student fees are likely to rise for the first time since 1999 under a new regime announced in the New Zealand government's budget.

From this year, the government will set the maximum fee that institutions can charge students. Fees will be set in seven course categories.

A schedule includes indicative rates for the following two years and this will be adjusted annually by the estimated rate of inflation.

For the past three years, universities have grudgingly agreed to freeze the amount they charge students in exchange for an increase in the government's tuition subsidy.

Tertiary education minister Steve Maharey said the maxima had been set to ensure all public institutions could maintain their income. Most institutions would not need to raise their fees for 2004 by even the rate of inflation to achieve this, he said, because tuition subsidies would increase by 1.2 per cent in real terms.

But students are doubtful whether universities will agree. New Zealand University Students' Association president Fleur Fitzsimons said universities had previously argued the need for fee increases of up to 25 per cent.

She added that for engineering undergraduate students, the fee maxima schedule could mean an increase of up to NZ$833 (£300), or 18 per cent, on the average 2003 fee.

Maxima will range from NZ$3,900 for arts and social science courses to NZ$4,500 for science and NZ$10,000 for dentistry, veterinary science and medicine.

John Hood, chair of the vice-chancellors' committee, agreed with the slowing of the decline in tertiary funding over the past decade, but warned that the increases would not meet staff salary expectations or enable the purchase of major equipment.

"There remains a need to significantly boost the quantum of university revenue," he said. But Dr Hood dismissed the suggestion that institutions would set their fees at the prescribed maxima.

"Fee-setting is and should always be the preserve of university councils, acting in a collegial and consultative fashion," he said. "In that respect, universities do not welcome the fee maxima policy, as it represents a further intrusion into their capacity to manage their own affairs."

The student component of the funding system will increase by NZ$422 million over four years, with a 3 per cent increase next year and increases that match the rate of inflation in the following two years.

Postgraduate fees are exempt, although any increase of more than NZ$1,000 will require approval from the Tertiary Education Commission.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Professor: Data Visualisation NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Boats docked in Port Hercule, Monaco

Richard Murphy praises a bold effort to halt tax-dodging by the 1 per cent

It’s a question with no easy answer, finds James Derounian

  • James Fryer illustration (19 November 2015)

With no time for proper peer review and with grade inflation inevitable, one academic felt compelled to resign

  • Lisa Mckenzie, Class War Party candidate, Chingford

Anarchist academic reflects on what her recent brush with the law says about threats to academic freedom

  • Worker checks thin-film silicon solar module, Truebbach

Asia doubles representation while European countries face varied performance