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September 3, 2007 | by  | in News |
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Fee Maxima returns for another year – without capped limits

The Government’s fee-maxima policy, which prevents tertiary institutions from raising course fees by over five per cent without exemption from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has been extended for another year.

As well as controlling the amount by which fees can be increased, the TEC also sets a schedule above which fees are not permitted to be charged. In previous years, the regulations provided that institutions with fees above the maximum levels set were required to reduce them by five per cent or to the maxima. For 2008, this requirement has been removed.

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has labeled the move as outrageous.

NZUSA Co-President Joey Randall said that the fee-maxima regulations, which had been intended to put restraints on increases in tuition fees, had resulted in having almost the opposite effect.

“What has occurred is that universities have used the five per cent maximum as the standard increase and, in many cases, have applied and been granted increases in excess of that,” said Randall. “The result has been that five per cent has effectively become the minimum increase.”

Randall said the Government had once again missed the chance to implement a fee regime that would offer genuine fee stability, and that “the government should prove its commitment to education and student support by abolishing both the inadequate fee-maxima scheme and out-of-control fees by introducing free, publicly-funded tertiary education.”

The extension of the fee-maxima policy and the changed rule came to light only with the posting of the 2008 Fee and Course Costs Maxima details on the Commission’s website.

VUWSA Education Vice President Joel Cosgrove says that fees are already increasing every year above the level of inflation, and that “taking off the caps just allows that to increase further which is ultimately the strategy of the universities. They find it easier to hit up on students than they do on the government. You end up with students missing out in the end and universities taking the easy option. And the government’s just made it that much easier.”

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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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