The University of Otago appears to be a winner from this
year's Budget, with extra funding for health sciences and
However, Otago Polytechnic, the Tertiary Education Union,
Universities New Zealand and Otago University vice-chancellor
Prof Harlene Hayne have all lamented the narrow focus of
funding increases announced by Tertiary Education Minister
Steven Joyce yesterday. Mr Joyce said the Budget included an
extra $198.6 million for tertiary education.
''This investment will strengthen our higher education
system, improve further the quality of our universities, and
help maintain their international competitiveness,'' he said.
New investment would come from ''reprioritisation'' within
tertiary education and additional money from the Crown.
Of the extra funding, $83.3 million was allocated to tuition
subsidies, which would be increased by 16.4% for pharmacy and
12.4% for physiotherapy - both of which were health sciences
subjects taught at Otago University and 8.5% for both science
Otago University was also likely to benefit from an extra
$13.2 million from the health budget to fund 34 additional
medical places, which is part of the Government's pledge to
providing 200 additional medical places.
Mr Joyce also announced the suspension of inflation
adjustments to the student loan repayment threshold - set at
$19,084 a year or $367 weekly - would be extended for another
Prof Hayne said that, given the university was strongly
focused on research, health sciences and science, additional
funding in those areas was welcome.
However, the Budget was not all positive and many subject
areas continued to miss out on extra funding.
''At the same time, as a university that is highly committed
to the value of a well-rounded education for our students, we
continue to be concerned about funding for other subject
Deputy vice-chancellor research and enterprise Prof Richard
Blaikie welcomed the announcement of $53 million in funding
to increase the number of Centres of Research Excellence
(Cores) from six to 10.
This comes after it was announced last week that Otago
University was selected to host a new Core in physics and to
co-host a brain research centre.
Prof Blaikie said increasing the number of Cores could be
good news for the projects which made it to the last hurdle
but missed out on funding.
''The Core process has identified that there is strength in
New Zealand research beyond the ability of the first round to
It was to the Government's credit that it identified the need
for extra funding.
Otago Polytechnic communications director Mike Waddell said
it was pleasing to see extra money for tertiary education,
but disappointing funding for many subject areas had not even
been adjusted for inflation.
The polytechnic could gain from the increase in tuition
subsidies for agriculture and the creation of a further 6000
places as part of the Government's ''Apprenticeship Reboot''
Otago University Students' Association president Ruby
Sycamore-Smith said it was disappointing there were no
increases to student allowances and student loans for living
''With costs like rent and power going up, it's harder and
harder to live,'' she said.
- Extra $198.6m for tertiary education. University of Otago
set to benefit from extra funding for health sciences and
- Widespread concern in the tertiary sector that funding for
many subjects has remained flat.