19 Apr 2010

Government reviews tertiary course fee cap

2:59 pm on 19 April 2010

The Government is reviewing the cap on tertiary fees but says the focus is on more expensive courses and doesn't expect to push up costs across the board.

At present, tertiary fees can rise by up to 5% a year, with different courses capped at various levels.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says the cap is distorting the cost of study because more expensive courses are in effect being subsidised by cheaper ones.

He has signalled that such courses as medicine and aviation could have their fees increased.

The Union of Students Associations says that will only force more doctors and dentists to leave the country once they have finished studying.

"The average student doctor debt is $65,000 and their annual fees are around $11,000," says association co-president David Do.

"Its very high for them already and making it higher - that's going to keep driving them away."