New Zealand First is setting its sights on younger voters with a promise to introduce a universal student allowance. Winsotn Peters made the announcement in address to University of Otago students today.
“A universal student allowance would encourage more students into tertiary education,” he said.
“It would reduce the dependence of loans and the cycle of huge debt that many of our graduates face, especially those who seek the highest qualifications or choose careers in areas such as medicine.”
Do we need to encourage more students into tertiary education?
There are shortages of some skills, including trades which don’t require a univesity education, but I wasn’t aware of a shortage of students or graduates, in general.
As for reducing the dependence on loans, students do have some choices. They can take a gap year (or more) to earn money before they start university or part way through their studies; they can work full time in their holidays and part time during term; and they can take a strict approach to differentiating between necessities and luxuries to reduce the amount they need to borrow.
But regardless of what they do their education won’t be free. If students pay less for their education then taxpayers will pay more.
And paying more for the relatively short time they’re students and less for the long time most will be tax payers, is better for them, all taxpayers and the economy.