Implications and likely policy changes under Labour-led Government

Since the Labour-led Government was established UC has been considering the implications and preparing for likely policy changes.

Among other actions we:

  • Have engaged with other universities and the TEC regarding the implementation of the proposed fees-free policy
  • Are preparing a briefing for incoming Ministers on the specific circumstances pertaining to the University of Canterbury following the earthquakes and our recovery and transformation plans
  • Have invited Ministers to key events and to visit campus
  • Are considering the implications of emerging policy positions such as regional development, research and immigration

As the fees-free policy is the most prominent of these in the public arena, I thought it worthwhile sharing with you our current messaging, in case you are receiving inquiries from students, friends or family – see below.

We will be continuing to monitor and engage with the new Government and to ensure that UC is well positioned to leverage opportunities that will arise.

Ngā mihi

Dr Rod Carr
Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Whakarae


Now that a Labour-led Government has taken office, Labour’s pre-election policy of a tuition fees-free first year of tertiary study is likely to take effect from 2018.

If you are an intending first year student, you may be wondering how this will work, and how it will impact on the financial side of your plans for University study in 2018.

The short answer is that we do not yet know for sure; the new Government has yet to confirm implementation of the policy, including exactly who would be eligible for tuition fees-free first year support, what exactly that support would cover (tuition fees, student services levies, field work course costs), and how (there are various possible options) the fees-free system would operate.

At this stage, we anticipate that the majority of domestic (i.e. non-International) students who are enrolling for their first year of tertiary study at University of Canterbury would be covered by any tuition fees-free policy if it came into effect. We expect that the fees that such a policy would cover are the tuition fees (course fees). We do not expect that fees-free would cover such things as accommodation or other living costs (i.e., Halls fees, student services levy).

One thing we do know for sure is that if tuition fees-free is coming into effect for 2018, Government ministers and their advisors are focussed on confirming the details as soon as possible over the next few weeks. We will be doing our bit to keep you up to date with this.

In the meantime, we suggest that you continue with your plans for study in the usual way, including, if applicable, accepting offers of places in colleges and scholarship offers, and commencing the application process for loans and/or allowance support via Studylink.

We look forward to welcoming you to University of Canterbury in 2018.