Click here for our 2020 Election Priorities for Tertiary Education


Supporting students creates a fairer society and a stronger economy. Tertiary education can help drive the transition to a sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tertiary education should be free

  • Student fees should be capped and progressively reduced.
  • The EFTS and PBRF funding models should be reviewed to ensure universities are adequately funded and incentivised to cooperate rather than compete.
  • Funding should improve staff to student ratios, library resources, and staff retention.

Student loans should remain interest free

  • Graduates should be able to earn more before they reach the income threshold to start paying off their loans, and the loan repayment scheme should be progressive.
  • Options to cancel existing student debt should be investigated, including cancelling a portion of debt for every year a graduate stays in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Part time students, students of all ages, and students in lengthy courses of study should have access to student loans and allowances for as long as they need them.

The student allowance should be universal

  • Student allowances should become universal over time, by reducing the age at which parental income testing applies and increasing the parental income threshold.
  • Postgraduate students should have access to student allowances.
  • Living costs payments, course-related costs, student allowances, the accommodation supplement, and the accommodation benefit should be set at fair and liveable levels.

Alternative education pathways should be supported

  • There should be more apprenticeships.
  • The government should work with tangata whenua to provide education services to Māori, including through wānanga.
  • High quality Private Training Establishments should be able to access public funding if they target particular populations or subjects that the public system is not addressing.

Education should be accessible to everyone

  • Tertiary education providers should be covered by a code of practice relating to students with disabilities.
  • The government should fund disability support services and ensure staff are trained to meet students’ needs.
  • Graduates with disabilities should receive support to move into employment.
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