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Otago welcomes fees-free details


Wednesday 6 December 2017 9:58am

The government has confirmed details of its fees-free scheme for 2018. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

Yesterday’s announcement from Government, confirming key details of the fees-free first year initiative, has been welcomed by the University of Otago.

Government agencies will determine the eligibility of individual applicants, and early signs are that the vast majority of Otago first years will be eligible.

“We are confident that the vast majority of Otago’s first year domestic students – around 3700 students in all – will qualify for fees-free support in 2018,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor, External Engagement, Professor Helen Nicholson.

“Along with the students who will benefit from this initiative, we have had relatively little information about how the fees-free scheme will operate in 2018. Crucial details around eligibility are now being confirmed, and we can all move forward to implement the fees-free scheme for 2018.”

As part of that process, domestic students who have so far enrolled for their first year of tertiary study at Otago in 2018 will be contacted by the University this week.

For the very high proportion of Otago’s first year cohort, who come straight from school to study full-time, fees-free is straight forward. Provided that they meet the relevant citizenship and residency requirements, these students should qualify. Many other Otago first year students are also likely to find that they qualify once they complete the Government’s assessment.

“We are aware that the fees-free scheme has generated some uncertainty around scholarships. For the vast majority of Otago’s entrance scholarship recipients, all that will change is that their scholarship will be used to cover a portion of their Residential College costs, rather than tuition fees,” said Professor Nicholson.

“We are also aware that there has been considerable speculation about the impact of fees-free support on enrolment levels. At this stage we are not seeing any appreciable change in enrolment demand from our pre-election expectations. We are looking forward to welcoming our commencing cohort of young citizens to Otago next year and I’m sure that they will appreciate the fees-free support details announced today,” said Professor Nicholson.

For further details on the Government’s fees-free initiative, including eligibility criteria and how to have eligibility assessed and confirmed, please refer to:

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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