From January 2018 all first time students will receive their first year of post school education or industry training fees free.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins says next year, around 80,000 people will be eligible for fees free post-school training and education.
“It comes on top of our recent announcement of $50 increases in student allowance and student loans weekly living costs limits, which will make more than 130,000 students $50 a week better off.
“The policy is a major investment in New Zealanders and the New Zealand economy,” he says.
Hipkins says he expects the policy will halt, and over time reverse the current trend of fewer people going into post-school training and education.
“We have budgeted for a three per cent increase in equivalent full-time students in 2018, equating to about 2000 extra students.
“The government has budgeted for up to $380 million in the current financial year across the fees-free policy and the $50 increases to student loans and allowances.
“Of the about 80,000 eligible students, estimates are that about 50,000 will train or study at a polytechnic, as industry trainees, at a wānanga or a PTE. The remainder will study at university, Hipkins says.
Meanwhile the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations has welcomed the policy.
National President Jonathan Gee, who has recently been re-elected, says fees such as the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF) are also covered by the fees free policy.
“For free tertiary education to be genuinely free, it is important that other fees outside of tuition fees are also covered by the policy,” he says.
“We are glad that these more hidden and unexpected costs like the CSSF are also covered.”
Gee says that students’ associations will be keeping a close eye on the how the eligibility process plays out from here.
‘There will be some prospective students who have complex circumstances in determining their eligibility, such as new New Zealanders and adult learners,” he says.
‘We will be watching closely to ensure that the process for determining eligibility for individual students is as learner-friendly as possible.’’
What you need to know
- If you’re a New Zealander who finished school in 2017, or if you will finish school during 2018, you qualify for a year of free provider based tertiary education or industry training in 2018.
- If you’re not a recent school leaver, and you’ve done less than half a fulltime year of education or training, you also qualify
- More information for prospective students and trainees is at the fees-free website www.feesfree.govt.nz