OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Like the mule with a spinning wheel

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  • Danielle,

    I/O, I was just wondering: are those kids on your lawn? And do you think that they should remove themselves from it? :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3665 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    "Student debt" is no longer such a hurdle, as it is now interest-free (which means paying it off is less urgent than for any other debt).

    But we do seem to be looking at "student debt" in the wrong way by focussing on the student as a "user" and sole beneficiary of a service.

    Ideally, we want to provide citizens with an education because that will improve our society. However, to get that benefit, we need those educated citizens to remain in, and/or actively contribute to, this society. That is the really important "debt" to society. And it goes completely unanswered if we end up encouraging graduates to go overseas to work (either to avoid, or to afford to pay, a commercial "debt").

    Not that graduates working overseas is automatically a bad thing. NZ as a whole can still benefit from the experience thus gained -- provided that those individuals eventually return for some portion of their career.

    Would it be utterly unfeasible to adjust the balance somehow, so that education costs less financially, but may attract other conditions on "local service"? This would be especially useful for professions such as nursing where we struggle to retain sufficient staff; but it might be more generally applicable too.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 931 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    But we do seem to be looking at "student debt" in the wrong way by focussing on the student as a "user" and sole beneficiary of a service.

    I know what you're saying, but it does pay to keep in mind that the debt a student incurs is a small percentage of the full price of their education. Society(via the taxpayer) still covers something approaching 80% of the course fees. That's not including all the other expenses the student incurs of course - books, living costs, etc. But it does indicate that society does encourage, and is prepared to carry a chunk of the cost of, tertiary study.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 848 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    But it does indicate that society does encourage, and is prepared to carry a chunk of the cost of, tertiary study.

    And the entire cost of imprisoning them! Oh wait...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    jeremy: true, the course fee charged is only 20-25% of the true cost for most undergraduate degrees; but my point was that the student is only presented with a "debt" in financial terms, not in social terms -- and precisely because there is a visible financial debt, the student is that much less likely to consider that there may be any social debt to repay.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 931 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I know what you're saying, but it does pay to keep in mind that the debt a student incurs is a small percentage of the full price of their education. Society(via the taxpayer) still covers something approaching 80% of the course fees.

    It's been a long time since the taxpayer paid 80% of the cost of educating a student. In 2002 government funding was 42.2% of the total cost of funding universities in NZ. Domestic fees made up another 18.6%. Comparing those two figures (ignoring international fees and external research etc funding) leaves you with government funding 69.4% of the cost of a student.

    That figure will have decreased a reasonable amount in the time since, as fees have risen by 5%/year at all the institutions with the removal of the fees freeze. I would imagine now that it's under 65% - less than two thirds.

    Lots of students put as much or more into their education than the government. The government funds about $8,000 on average per student direct to the institution. Any student taking the full amount of student loan will top $11,000 a year, and if they're doing a more expensive course then they'll be up at $20,000 or so.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Society (via the taxpayer) still covers something approaching 80% of the course fees.

    It's been slowly eroding.

    For example in 2008 law - which I studied - will have Government funding of $5039 per student. A full-time domestic law student will pay around $4121 (depends on University, obviously), plus extraneous compulsory university charges (at Vic - others are higher - these total around $270).

    Other subjects differ obviously, but for something like law it's 53% Government funded, 47% private funded.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3012 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Damn!

    Forgot GST on the Government funding.

    Make that 56%/44%.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3012 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Its a conversation that needs to be had - whether tertiary education is as much a right of the individual NZer as Primary and Secondary ed.
    When the student loans scheme started back in about 1990, the numbers of tertiary students were increasing markedly. Before then, tertiary education was more or less optional for having a decent job. It was only the late 80s when more than half of high school students studied through to 7th form.
    In this day & age, the majority of kids end up taking some kind of tertiary ed, from university degrees, to the prerequiste tech courses for most trades. If we're at the point where someone can't reasonably expect to be able to get on in life without some kind of tertiary study, then we need to be looking at more govt funding, since it will always be the lower socio-economic groups that will miss out if there's a financial hurdle to accessing tertiary courses.

    Imagine a political party coming out with a policy of charging high school students $4000 per year as that will increase their commitment to education.

    The difference, and I'm not saying that you're wrong, is that tertiary students are all (technically) adults. Different standards are applied once people hit 18. Standards often relating to how self-reliant and responsible for their own actions they are expected to be.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 848 posts Report Reply

  • nanoplanet,

    how outrageous Labour spending all this money on health and education, mismanaging the economy, frittering away cash on things like super annuation funds - and then still having a couple of billion left over!
    they should be following the sound economic principles of the Republicans and send the economy into a nose dive, borrow heaps then start wars to divert attention. i mean, how else can you keep wages low?

    Here • Since Apr 2007 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Those more recent tertiary funding figures don't half make depressing reading.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 931 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The difference, and I'm not saying that you're wrong, is that tertiary students are all (technically) adults. Different standards are applied once people hit 18. Standards often relating to how self-reliant and responsible for their own actions they are expected to be.

    There's some children in the tertiary education system - increasingly high school students are tacking a university course onto their last year - and there's adults going back to school to complete their high school education. The former pay, the latter don't.

    Age isn't the determining factor for charging for education. Given that people finish high school at differing ages (I finished 7th form at 17, some now finish as late as 19), it's entirely arbitrary, particularly given the increasingly loose boundaries between the secondary and tertiary sector.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Make it free again like it was for my brother's generation, that will really po the RWDB's. Fund it by taxing trust funds, mawhaw.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    What you gain from undegrad tertiary is a certificate saying that you can do all the basics and stick it out doing something challenging that is rigorously tested. On this basis you can get a better job. Perhaps we should make the final year of school similarly rigorous and not award certificates for attendence.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

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