People studying with SIT | Te Pūkenga at its Southern region campuses will continue to enjoy SIT’s Zero Fees Scheme in 2024.
“Te Pūkenga was established to create a stronger vocational education and training network, to better serve ākonga (students) and employers, no matter where they live. We are already seeing the benefits for our Southern ākonga, with improved access to learning opportunities and single national qualifications,” Pourangi Ako | Deputy Chief Executive Ako Delivery Gus Gilmore says.
SIT is no longer competing with every other polytechnic across the motu for ākonga and is able to collaborate with other vocational education providers in the network to make new programmes available to the region’s learners, Mr Gilmore says.
“For example, the new aquaculture programme being offered at SIT | Te Pūkenga was developed by NMIT | Te Pūkenga. Southern ākonga no longer need to move to Nelson to pursue this course of study. This makes the qualification more accessible for local people, while meeting local industry needs.”
Learners will be increasingly able to complete a single national qualification, through a mix of online, in-work and campus-based education from anywhere in the country.
“The challenges of having some 24 vocational educational or training organisations are widely recognised. We believe bringing them together, while retaining strong regional connections, best allows the most effective use of resource and the widest range of learning and training options for learners and employers.”
In 2024, the SIT Zero Fees Scheme will continue to apply to ākonga residing in the Southern region, and those studying at SIT’s Invercargill, Gore, Queenstown and Telford (Balclutha) campuses. It will not apply for SIT2LRN students with residential addresses outside of the Southern region, or those at SIT’s Christchurch campus.
For current SIT ākonga who are enrolled in multi-year programmes, the SIT Zero Fees Scheme will continue while they complete their current programmes. Those enrolling for multi-year programmes in 2024 will also continue to be eligible for SIT’s Zero Fees Scheme while they are studying at the SIT Southern region campuses (terms and conditions apply).
“Te Pūkenga recognises the positive impact SIT makes to the local community, and we are committed to supporting local communities. The Zero Fees Scheme transformed SIT’s student numbers and made a significant impact on the region’s economy. Unfortunately, recent changes to tertiary education funding have meant the scheme is no longer sustainable,” Mr Gilmore says.
The SIT Zero Fees Scheme was introduced in 2001 with the aim of attracting more students and boosting the Southern regional economy.
SIT transitioned into Te Pūkenga in 2022. It was agreed that existing fee strategies across the network of Te Pūkenga would continue for 2023 while overall fee unification work continued.
Pricing decisions for 2025 and beyond have not been determined and are likely to be communicated in the first half of 2024, Mr Gilmore says. All local fee strategies will need to be financially viable.
Fees for online learning across the network, including SIT2LRN, are likely to be standardised. However, that work has not started yet and Te Pūkenga will work with the Tertiary Education Commission and other stakeholders to ensure compliance.