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Fees-free, do we all agree?

After reading the Debate’s first Issue, ‘Back to School’, I was slightly surprised at how little the increase in new students coming to AUT was – only 2.4 percent! I myself, as a first-year student, was not in the slightest influenced by the new fees-free scheme, having decided already that I was coming to university no matter how much I had to pay. But I was interested to know whether the same could be said for some of the other first-year students. Here’s what they had to say:

Hazel, Diploma of Applied Sciences

Did the fees-free scheme by Labour influence your decision to enrol at AUT? No, it didn’t.

Why not? It had more to do with my course being here, not that it was free.

Do you believe this scheme could increase enrolment at university, or is it, in your view, pointless? It can increase the people that come in, but to be honest, the first year’s kind of pointless. It should be offered to those who are completing their degrees.

Daniel, Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences

Did the fees-free scheme by Labour influence your decision to enrol at AUT? Yes. I’d say it did, of course.

Why? Free-fees – you don’t have to pay it back!

Are you aware that this year has only seen a 2.4 percent increase in enrolments? No, I didn’t know that.

Do you believe that this is linked to the fees-free scheme? Or because of a growing interest in further education? I don’t think it has anything to do with Labour really, I think slightly it has something to do with Labour, but it’s just more people want to go to university.

Jessica, Bachelor of Communications

Did the fees-free scheme by Labour influence your decision to enrol at AUT? Nah, but I imagine that it would with other people.

Why not? Because my dad wouldn’t let me not go to university. But all the fees have done is mean that it helps me in the future, so my future self is happy about that. The StudyLink loan wouldn’t affect me right now because I won’t be paying it right now.

Do you believe that this scheme could increase enrolment? I read in the earlier Debate issue that it didn’t, so I’m not sure.

So, it seems the majority agree that the fees-free scheme did not impact their decision to come to university, although I’m sure we can all agree that it has made stuff that little bit easier for students regarding future debt. This is only the first step, as the Ministry of Education itself has said that they plan to implement a three-year fees-free scheme by 2024, so watch this space!

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