Since the announcement of the 2017 Budget early last week, there has been a great deal of media coverage concerning changes to university fees, funding and repayment thresholds. However, it is worth considering how these will impact international students, namely those hailing from New Zealand.
Students from New Zealand will no longer be eligible for commonwealth fee subsidies that are offered to domestic students, meaning they will now pay full price for their qualifications. The fee hike will be substantial; a science degree that previously cost around $9,000 will skyrocket to over $35,000.
Student loans will be available for New Zealanders to offset the financial strain but it will come at a cost in the form of a 25 per cent loan fee. The changes will apply from January 2018 and fortunately for current New Zealand natives studying in Australia, the new regulations will not apply to them.
The decision has been met with strong criticism, particularly from those across the Tasman. The chairman of advocacy group Oz Kiwi, Tim Gassin described the fee hikes as “absurd” and an “act of bastardry.” Even New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English chimed in, saying he was “pretty unhappy” with the situation.
It comes barely a week after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced the longer wait times associated with citizenship rule changes would also apply to New Zealanders.