Reducing the cost of education

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

Twenty-two more schools have opted into the Government’s policy of providing $150 per child to schools who don’t ask parents for donations– bringing the total number of schools in the policy to 1,585.

The Ministry of Education has accepted late opt ins past the November 14 deadline from schools that have either had their decile ratings reviewed recently or requested more time to make a decision due to the schedule of their Board meetings.

“The Coalition Government has made significant inroads into reducing the financial pressure parents’ face when it comes to their child’s education,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

“Our parental donations scheme is a win for parents and families. They know that their students at decile 1-7 schools will get to enjoy the benefits of extra funding for their schools without them feeling the pressure to find it within their own household budget.

“Last year we also removed NCEA exam fees benefiting more than 145,000 households.  This change also means that almost 150,000 current and former students with unpaid NCEA fees have been formally be awarded their NCEA credits or qualifications.

“We have also taken steps to make post-school education and training more affordable.

One of my first actions as Minister of Education was to make the first year of provider-based tertiary education – and first two years of an apprenticeship – fees free.  Around 47,000 students and trainees received tertiary education that was fees free in 2018, with borrowing for fees through student loans falling by $194.2 million between 2017 and 2018.

“We also increased the maximum rates for student allowances and the amount available to borrow for living costs by $50 a week, and reversed a decision by the previous Government to cap borrowing through the Student Loan Scheme for up to seven equivalent full-time years. This allows students in long undergraduate programmes (medicine, dentistry, optometry and veterinary science) to borrow through the loan scheme for up to 10 years of full-time study.

“The combination of these changes will make a huge difference to students, their families and local communities,” Chris Hipkins said.