No increase in students for $380 million bribe

The Herald reports:

Student numbers have jumped at three regional polytechnics – but the Government’s frees-free policy appears to have had no impact on universities, wānanga or apprenticeships. …

But Universities NZ director Chris Whelan said Canterbury was only returning to its share of students before the region’s 2011 earthquake, and nationally university rolls were flat.

“We might be looking at about 1 per cent [up] on average, but it could still be as little as zero,” he said.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, which already offered fees-free courses to most students, said the Labour Government’s policy of free fees for all students in their first year of tertiary education had had “no real impact” on it.

Industry Training Federation chief executive Josh Williams said there was also no sign of any jump in apprenticeships.

“Nobody is seeing any patterns of sign-up significantly different from what they would have otherwise anticipated for this time of the year,” he said.

Labour claimed their policy would mean more people enrolling in tertiary study. They insisted the fees were a barrier to entry (despite the fact you get interest free loans to cover them). So they took $380 million more off taxpayers and have given it to people who were always going to enrol anyway.

That $380 million could have been spent on mental health, or better early childhood education or subsidising more medicines. But instead Labour have given it to the future wealthy (average lifetime income is $1.6 million higher with a degree).

It is arguably their most wasteful policy. $380 million for no extra enrolments.

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