New survey casts fresh doubt on fees-free policy

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Thursday, 11 April 2019, 6:14p.m.
A survey has found the scheme had a limited impact on those attending University of Canterbury. (Photo / Getty)

A survey of first year students has once again raised questions about the value of the fees-free scheme. 

The survey of 1000 students at the University of Canterbury found just 5.8 per cent would not have attended if the first year was not free. 

The National Party spokesperson for tertiary education Shane Reti says that this shows the fees-free scheme is not good value for money

Education Minister Chris Hipkins disagrees and says the scheme is still benefiting a number of students by keeping student debt low.

President of the New Zealand Union of Student Associations James Ranstead is on his side. He told Larry Williams that the survey is not representative of the wider country, but

"What we do know at other institutes, there is a greater diversity of students. We also know that one third of [University of Canterbury] students were influenced by the fees-free policy."

Ranstead says that this survey is only based on last year's students, so that students only had a few months to make a decision around whether to go to university or not. 

He wants to see more research done into the fees-free policy, as he believes it will show more people have been benefited by it. 

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