Government should scrap loans for student unions

Published: Wed 24 Feb 2010 09:48 AM
Government should scrap loans for student unions
Media release: Student Choice, 23 February 2010
Categories: education, tertiary education
Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce is being urged to remove the ability of students to pay compulsory student union fees with money borrowed under the student loan scheme.
The government has made it clear it doesn’t want the student loan scheme to be exploited.  Student unions are exploiting the system by taking money intended for education.
Student Choice estimates that around $7 million, borrowed under the loan scheme, ends up going to compulsory student unions.
The ability to borrow fees for compulsory student union membership distorts the intention of the student loan scheme. This money should be going into education, not to the coffers of compulsory student unions.
Student associations do not provide education. They are simply incorporated societies.  They shouldn’t be recipients of money intended for education
Compulsory student union membership costs New Zealand tertiary students $14 million dollars a year.  Most of the money taken under compulsory membership goes to paying wages for student association employees, and subsidising orientation parties, clubs and student media.  Student associations do not provide non-academic services such as health and counselling, crèches, bars and recreation centres; students fund these services through separate levies paid directly to institutions.
Student Choice supports Roger Douglas’ bill to make membership of student unions voluntary.

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