Thousands already benefiting from fees-free post-school education and training

Thousands of people studying for the first time at polytechnics, wānanga, private training establishments and universities, and training as apprentices, are benefiting from the Government’s fees-free study policy, says Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

“Fees-free post-secondary study was implemented as part of the Government’s December 2017 mini-Budget and is designed to remove financial barriers for people to go onto further study or training,” says Chris Hipkins.

“I am proud that post-school students and trainees are big winners under this Government. We are committed to building the skilled workforce we need to lift our productivity and raise our living standards.

“With an estimated additional 50,000 to 60,000 tradespeople and other qualified workers needed in the next five years, we need to provide a genuine incentive to get more people into apprenticeships, training and studying in critical shortage areas.

“The Vote Tertiary Education component of this increase takes the total expenditure on post-school education and training to $3.44 billion in 2018/19, up 11.9 per cent from the $3.08 billion budgeted for 2018/19 by the previous Government.

“Students are already taking on less debt. Total student loan borrowing for tuition fees in the first three months of 2018 was $151 million lower than in the same period last year.

“In the first three months of 2018, 25,400 fewer students have borrowed to pay for fees, which will help them repay their loans more quickly when they enter the workforce and means they can get on with their lives faster. 

“Alongside making tertiary education more affordable for first-time students and trainees, we have also increased the weekly student loan living cost and allowance payments for students at all levels by $50 per week, funded through Votes Social Development, Social Housing and Revenue,” says Chris Hipkins.