'Grossly inequitable' fee-free warning from universities

Universities have warned that fee-free study could push some students to apply for courses they are unlikely to pass, as tension between the sector and the Labour-led government over the flagship scheme has been revealed in letters sent to Education Minister Chris Hipkins, writes Nicholas Jones for the NZ Herald.

University of Auckland Vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon wrote to Hipkins in December, in his capacity as chair of Universities New Zealand, the body that represents all eight universities, to warn of "a most unfortunate and no doubt unintended anomaly" of the fee-free policy.

"Students who take a university foundation course will enjoy a fees remittance of as little as NZ$700 [US$514] in their first year of tertiary study ... By contrast, those entering directly into degree programmes will enjoy the benefit of up to NZ$12,000 in remitted fees … We believe that this outcome is grossly inequitable … it will also create perverse incentives for students to seek entry to degree programmes for which they are not adequately prepared and in which they are unlikely to succeed without special preparation," McCutcheon wrote.
Full report on the NZ Herald site