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March 5, 2007 | by  | in News |
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Fees Set To Rise

University Council tactics ‘underhanded’ – VUWSA

University fees may rise for the second trimester, a recent University Council document reveals.

The document was originally ‘mistakenly’ printed in the confidential Council papers, meaning members of the public – namely students – were unable to read it before it went to the Council.

The Council document requests that the Council support a recommendation to either: apply to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) for an additional undergraduate fees increase for the faculties of Humanities, Education, Law and Architecture, or: rather than apply for an exemption; reaffirm a resolution to the continuing of increasing fees each year – to bring fees in line with other universities, with or the fee maxima limit.

The application to the TEC asks for an exemption to the Annual Fee Movement Limit (AFML) rule, to allow fees to increase over the 5% annual limit up to a 10% increase.

The application is assessed against three principles: that the cost of providing the course is not met by the course’s income, the costs cannot be cross-subsidised from the institution’s total financial surplus, and not increasing fees would “compromise progress towards the achievement of the Tertiary Education Strategy and the Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities, or other critical elements of the tertiary reforms.”

VUWSA President Geoff Hayward requested that the Council defer discussion on the document to a Special Council Meeting at a later date. However, some Council members were reluctant to defer the topic, despite no opportunity being given for the public to view it.

Regardless of a consensus that the matter would be deferred, Hayward later released a statement calling the Universities tactics “underhanded.”

Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh responded in another press release, stating Hayward’s claims to be “absolutely absurd.”

“I’m surprised Geoff made them considering he was present at Monday’s meeting and knows the matter has not yet been voted on.

A fees increase above the maximum is needed to allow Victoria to allocate greater resources to these programmes so they can continue to enhance quality,” said Walsh.

According to a memorandum from Walsh to the Council, the University’s application to raise fees for the Humanities and Education faculties by 10% in 2006 was denied, “on the grounds that its financial circumstances were not sufficiently out of control.”

The same memorandum also contains an estimate of nationwide undergraduate fees, showing Victoria as one of the least-expensive universities in Humanities, Education, Law and Architecture faculties.

The University has since received information about the previous application under the Official Information Act, in hope that it will further meet the criteria in its next application.

Discussion over the fees document will now take place 26 March, and students are able to attend the meeting.

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About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

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