The Herald editorial:
The majority of students having a free year (71 per cent) are of European descent, 80 per cent are aged 19 or younger and nearly 60 per cent are female. In other words, the beneficiaries of this additional $236 million outlay are principally young white school leavers whose family circumstances and personal prospects probably make them perfectly capable of paying back the subsidised student loans most of them will readily take out for the rest of their degree.
On average they will earn $1.6 million more than someone who doesn’t go to university.
This in policy jargon is “poorly targeted spending”. If the intention was to boost participation in tertiary education by those who might not otherwise afford it, the money could have been used for programmes aimed more precisely at them.
Rather than boost participation, participation rates have dropped!