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May 28, 2007 | by  | in News |
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Students may face cost of new hostel

Students may be expected to foot part of the bill for the controversial Vic hostel to be built on Fairlie Terrace, a source has revealed.

The University is looking at charging approximately $50 to students applying for University-owned hostels to contribute to capital for the project, says the source.

Other funding is expected to come from sales of University owned property and collateral from major building assets, along with cost-cutting around the university.

The University’s resource consent application for the $50 million project was granted by the Wellington City Council two weeks ago.

Salient understands that Victoria’s application to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) Tertiary Advisory Monitoring Unit (TAMU) for a loan towards costs for the hostel has been delayed, and that the University may reapply after raising some initial capital.

VUWSA President Geoff Hayward declined to comment specifically on the TAMU application, but confirmed the hostel will come at a cost to students. “Should TAMU not approve the loan, students irrespective of whether they live in this complex or not will be asked to take a bigger hit each time they pay their fees just so 400 people can live in a hostel.

”Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Neil Quigley says discussion between the University and the TEC has been delayed “because of the process associated with the development of the new investment plans that will form the basis for our funding in future, but it is premature to say that we have been unsuccessful.

”Quigley says it has always been the University’s intention to fund the project – along with other proposed developments – from “from a mixture of existing cash reserves, borrowing, and future surpluses”.

“The delay in our ability to make a formal case to the TEC for approval to borrow does not create any problems for us in the management of expenditure.”

A recommendation that the funding schemes and budget for the hostel be approved is expected to be made at the University Council meeting this Monday.

Local groups including the Aro Valley Community Council, Te Aro School and VUWSA has raised criticism regarding the community impact the hostel would create and the welfare of students living in the hostel.

Aro Valley Community Council member Nikki Burrows last week told The Dominion Post that Te Aro School – which had initially objected to the hostel – had been told to “shut up” by the University, who will now offer scholarships to ex-students of the school once they reach university.

Both the school and the University have rejected Burrows’ claim, and have said the idea of scholarships was raised by the school.

Quigley says, “since scholarships are only one part of our agreement, and since the idea of scholarships did not come from the University, I categorically reject any claim that ‘the University is bribing the school with scholarships’ is a reasonable characterisation of the agreement.”

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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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