The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has rejected Vic’s application for an extra five per cent fee rise for next year, but Vice Chancellor Pat Walsh is crossing his fingers that the TEC will reconsider.
The University Council passed a motion earlier this year to apply for an exemption to the TEC’s Annual Fee Movement Limit (AFML) rule to allow fees to increase over the 5 per cent annual limit up to a 10 increase.
Vic also applied for an exemption to raise fees by 10 per cent for the second semester of this year, but was rejected.
Applications are assessed against three principles, including 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.”
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TEC Chief Executive Janice Shiner said Vic’s application did not justify the extra increase. Walsh says the University will be continuing discussions with the TEC on the application. “Given the complexities around this issue, the University will be continuing to discuss this and associated matters with the Commission in the coming months,” says Walsh.
“It should be noted that in some subject areas fees at Victoria are considerably lower than for other New Zealand universities – for example, for humanities we have the lowest fees, and for law and education the second lowest.”
The University’s application to raise fees for the Humanities and Education faculties by 10 per cent in 2006 was denied, “on the grounds that its financial circumstances were not sufficiently out of control”, according to a memorandum from Walsh to the University Council.
VUWSA Education Vice President Joel Cosgrove says the TEC’s decision is both good and bad. Cosgrove says that the University is under-funded, but that University heads should make a greater effort to lobby the government for funding, rather than making students shoulder its debts.