Friday, February 23, 2024

Heather du Plessis-Allan: National has found their excuse to ditch fees-free uni

If National is looking for an excuse to get out of paying for Labour’s dumb free year of university, they may have just got it.

The Tertiary Education Commission has admitted that the first year free of tertiary study has led to no discernible evidence that it increased the number of students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Which basically means it hasn’t worked, because that was the point of doing it.

That was why Jacinda said- "next year’s on us!". Because she wanted to help poorer and disadvantaged kids get into uni.

Obviously, it wasn't going to work, because it wasn’t needed. Because cost is not a barrier.

It is easy to go to uni and pay for it. You take a loan, there is no interest on that loan- and what you're borrowing is only a fraction of the actual cost, the rest is subsidised.

Kids who don’t go to uni have other - valid, in my opinion- reasons, maybe they want to work or they want to travel or they want to start a business or whatever.

All up, Labour’s vanity spend or student bribe - you decide - cost us $350 million in the year to June last year.

Now, Christopher Luxon said before the election that he was keeping it and instead switching it to the last year.

But he also said on Sunday this week that the economy is in a fragile state and there are tough decisions that we need to make together.

Let this be one of those tough decisions. Cut the spend.

It's a lot of money, which could be spent elsewhere to help people that actually need it- and it actually doesn’t help the people it's supposed to.

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


Anonymous said...

Fees free was a scam, I hope it gets ditched completely.

She suggests the student loan is enough to cover fees and essential living costs, including the halls, but it wasn’t in my day & I doubt it is now. Part-time jobs & studying when you should be sleeping are par for the cause at uni.

The real issue here is the level of entitlement out three, & the lowering of academic criteria to meet diversity targets. All patients & clients really want is intelligent & competent professionals.

Valid Point said...

Ardern's idea, like most of her expensive posturing, was always flawed. Essentially because it targeted the wrong people at the wrong stage of their education. It was to encourage participation rather than success.
But providing for students as they finish their studies makes sense. They've proven durability and achievement. It's also the time expenses start ramping up - travelling to intern interviews, buying that first suit and the raft of other small costs that add up as you transition from a student to the work force.
If the policy must stay, then transferring it to the last year is a good idea.

robert Arthur said...

Free fees or not far too many persons are being encouraged to take courses which incurr debt but for vocations which they for various reasons, including IQ, are totally unsuited. Their future often sparse life is made unecesarily more bleak by inappropriate debt.