Back to top

Universities welcome increase; call for more funded places

20 May 2021 | media

New Zealand’s eight universities welcome the 1.2% increase in funding per student announced in today’s budget. It will help universities deal with increasing costs of maintaining the quality of teaching. 

“It is vital that investment levels in New Zealand universities are maintained so that New Zealand’s world class universities can continue to serve our nation through our teaching and our research,” says Universities New Zealand (UNZ) chair Jan Thomas.

“We encourage the Government to consider also increasing the number of places it will fund so more of the New Zealanders who wish to study at university are able to.

“Universities are experiencing significant demand from New Zealanders wanting to study at university level. We are the engine-room that will underpin the economic activity of the country over coming years, contributing to the wellbeing of the whole community. Producing well educated New Zealanders diminishes the constant need for international expertise.

“On top of that, a well-educated population is key to advancing Government priorities around alleviating poverty, and delivering wellbeing and improved outcomes in areas like health.

“We recognise the many calls on limited government funding, including the health system, and support the moves to alleviate poverty—particularly the real issues of student poverty felt by many. This can really affect student wellbeing, their capacity to stay at university and their capacity to be their best, so the rise in student allowances is welcomed. This is an investment in New Zealand’s future workforce.”

Universities are, however, frustrated with the flat levels of research funding. “Given the importance our world-class science and researchers in helping Aotearoa manage through the health crisis of the past 12 months, this is disappointing,” says Thomas.

The return of New Zealand’s international students continues to be a focus for the universities.

“We are working with the Government to manage the reintroduction of our international students, which will then generate benefits for New Zealand. Safely bringing them back will bring huge benefits both to universities and to the wider community. They contribute enormously to the global competencies of our domestic students, build lifelong connections to New Zealand and are a vital part of our university community.”