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PTE Students Lose $93m in Budget

Private training establishment (PTE) students lost $93m in the Budget announced last week. The only cut in Vote Education means that thousands of people will not be able to enrol in PTE courses next year. The Government has taken $93m (over four years) from those students to fulfil its interest-free student loans policy.

The Budget cut affects PTE students enrolled in courses that do not attract government tuition subsidies.Those students have been able to access student loans and allowances since 1996, but will not be able to do so from 1 January 2007. While current students will be able to access loans and allowances until the end of their course, no new student will be able to do so.

Even current students will have difficulties, though, as the policy may force many PTEs to close. Many of the students are enrolled in PTEs that do not get any government subsidies. While they can apply for government subsidies, the deadline for new funding for 2007 was 13 April 2006. Dr Cullen knew that he was going to put these providers and their students in jeopardy by keeping the announcement back until the Budget, but gave them no chance to prove their worth in a competitive funding round. Without new students, those PTEs will find it hard to teach their current ones.

The issue has not been picked up by the media yet because no government media release referred to it�and the budget notes released by the Ministry of Education fudged the issue. Independent Tertiary Institutions has been working quietly with members and other PTE groups since the Budget to gather information and assess the impact.

More details are likely to emerge as PTEs are slowly informed by the government of this Budget cut - PTE students will have to find out secondhand because this Government is not willing to explain�its own decisions to those most affected.

ITI has prepared a briefing note for those with more interest in the issue.

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