Students' Call on Minister to be truthful in his calculations

22 October 2014
Press Release: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association

Students are calling on the Minister of Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce, to go back to class and check his maths after he suggested that the government subsidises 80% of tuition costs.

Sonya Clark, the President of Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association, says that comments made yesterday by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce, on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report program are “simply not true”.

Victoria University of Wellington budgets show that the grants from government comprised about 60% of the cost of domestic university tuition costs.

“It’s simply not fair to imply that the government are doing more than what they are when the sector is already chronically underfunded.”

“Students are already under huge financial pressure and to suggest that we are only paying 20% of the cost of our tuition is an inaccurate excuse to not provide more support for the sector.”

Each year universities are forced to increase the burden placed on students due to the lack of funding, this is despite a cut in services and no clear evidence of academic quality increases.

“In real terms, the overall government funding for the university sector has decreased over the past few years while costs continue to rise.”

“Joyce is instead deciding to focus extra funding solely on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. Focusing exclusively on these subjects at the expense of a broader approach does not recognise that all types of education provide benefits to society. If the government is committed to a well educated society, the Minister’s rhetoric must reflect the fact that students already fund a significant proportion of their own education.“

“Perhaps the Minister should practice what he preaches and focus on his maths instead of misinforming the public” concludes Ms Clark.

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The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations exists to advance the political, social and economic interests of tertiary students whatever they study and wherever they live. NZUSA is a membership body of local students' associatons. We believe in opportunity for all.

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