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University rankings, laziness, and interest free student loans

  • September 9th, 2010

Stuart McCutcheon in today's Herald describes the spade that student politicians will not touch – the stupidity of pouring tertiary education spend into interest free student loans and other student 'welfare' instead of into things that ensure their degrees are worth more.

A continuing slide in the ranking of our universities has been reported in a world survey which controversially bounces Cambridge ahead of Harvard.

With Auckland slipping 7 places to 68th, and only Otago (135th) and Canterbury (189th) remaining in the top 200 (but lower), our kids' qualifications are losing value. That will likely cost students over their working lives far more than they ever gain by being able to party more and work part-time less than their counterparts overseas.

And the problem compounds, as our universities slide so does the revenue they can generate from paying foreign students in the international education market. For Wellington the low ranking of Victoria and Massey should spur our leaders into pushing for an end to the student loan rort.

What about spending some of that political capital you are so carefully hoarding Mr Key (and Mr Joyce) by telling students (and their feckless parents and grandparents) that  the 9 year old election bribe has done enough damage. You've started the conversations that will limit it.

Why not use the earthquake shock to announce an end to the bribe after the next election, and redirect the money into restoring our rankings, at least for those of our universities that are still credible enough to stay in the top 200.

Disclosure of interest – I have four kids with student loans who may not thank me if the interest holiday goes.



You know Canterbury just kicked out a pile of full fee paying internationals whose GPA was too low, right?  Many of these guys never even bothered showing up for exams – the student visa was the reason they were here.  They had been nicely cross-subsidizing domestic students.  Not anymore.

  • Joe
  • September 12th, 2010
  • 5:50 pm

A lot of young NZers might be prepared to share your view… if they didn't face the prospect of taking on overwhelming debt in order to buy houses. If housing was more affordable, interest-accruing student loans would be much easier to 'sell'. 

And by the way, there are thousands of universities just in the OECD, so not being in the top 200 is hardly the same as not being 'credible'. Saying that this is the case does down the considerable achievements of our universities who operate on lower budgets than overseas universities with comparable rankings.

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