The Vice-Chancellors’ Committee which represents the heads of the eight New Zealand universities, is asking the government for more money. They say that funding has not kept up with inflation and they need at least another $230 million on top of the $1.15 billion that the government already spends. If we want quality universities, then the universities need more money. The National government plans to focus on our country’s infrastructure. The Vice-Chancellors’ Committee says that universities are part of infrastructure.
The university bosses also want the $38 million funding for research to be doubled in the next three years. Funding for research in New Zealand is less than the average for OECD countries. OECD means Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and it consists of 30 countries – mostly coming from Europe, but also North America, Japan and Korea. We often compare our country with other OECD countries. Research funding in New Zealand is 1.17% of GDP whereas the average in OECD countries is 2.2% of GDP.
The government funds 42% of students’ costs and 58% for the university, to pay for staff, buildings, maintenance, heating and so on. In other developed countries the average government funding is 18% for students and 82% for universities. Student tuition fees are capped by the government which means that universities cannot increase them. The Vice-Chancellors say that they should be allowed to raise student tuition fees. The average fee in New Zealand universities is $4885, whereas it is $7049 in Australian universities. Hugh Fletcher of Auckland University also said that Law students should pay more than History students because Law students will earn more in the future.
Anne Tolley, the new Minister of Education, says there is no extra money available for universities in these difficult financial times. She also said that the government will not change the cap on student fees.