Let’s Do This: No age limit for a free year of tertiary education

The gravy train just got a lot longer. The policy was supposedly all about helping young people to get training that will help them to get ahead in life but now they have extended the policy to include literally everyone. How is it an efficient use of taxpayer money to allow people who have retired to amuse themselves with a year of free University education?

An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose

New Zealanders both old and young who have done less than six months of tertiary education will have a year of free education from next year.

The long-awaited details of the Government’s first-year-free tertiary policy were announced in Porirua yesterday, with Education Minister Chris Hipkins estimating 80,000 people would be eligible.

That split would likely be 30,000 students at university and 50,000 at private institutions, polytechnics, and apprenticeships and industry training.

There is no age restriction, with the Government paying for the first year of study up to $12,000.

If that is the case then his estimate will be well out. There are plenty of retired folks who would enjoy a year at University. I would do it at 70 just for shits and giggles as Cam would say and I would wind up all my SJW professors while I was at it. I would take all the stupid courses like Women’s studies and I would calmly destroy all the arguments against white men and the patriarchy. Oh, what fun I would have. I can’t be the only person who can see the possibilities this open-ended free money for everyone policy has created?

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98 year old university student returns to school in Osaka

“It’s great news for young people who are finishing school and adults who have in the past been put off because of the cost, and it provides a genuine incentive to keep learning. This government is passionate about life-long learning,” Hipkins said.

How is training a 75-year-old a reasonable use of the government’s resources? The Labour government are like parents who are incapable of setting limits on their children. There should absolutely be an age limit on the policy.

“Employers have also been calling for bold forward thinking to build a future workforce with new skills to meet changing demands. That’s what this policy will deliver.”

The Government has budgeted for a three percent increase in students, or about an additional 2000 students, and has allocated $380 million in the current financial year for the scheme and the already-announced rise in student loans and allowances.

[…] Dr Rod Carr, vice chancellor of Canterbury University, told Newsroom last month there had already been a spike in enrolments for next year.

If student numbers do dramatically increase, especially with the policy due to extend to three years by 2024, questions will likely arise about how tertiary institutions are funded and whether that funding needs to be increased.

Carr said that once the Government was paying tuition on behalf of almost all domestic students, institutions would face incentives to cap and reduce that cost.

New Zealand had one of the highest rates of money going through students to the institutions rather than directly as funding to institutions, he said.

“It is the case that money follows the students and as student interest ebbs and flows that can have adverse impacts on capacity.”

I expect a large percentage of those who sign up for the free year will not go on for a second year because the policy will attract those who previously were not considering tertiary study.

Universities New Zealand chief executive Chris Whelan said the Government had indicated no university would be short-changed in the first year, but agreed there were longer-term concerns.

“The average fee is about $6000 a year … but we’re absolutely nervous in future years that the Government could start shaving off that.”


They should be nervous. This government has bitten off more than it can chew and the cutbacks will be made at the tertiary institutions when economic reality hits.

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