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May 3, 2010 | by  | in News |
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International fees to rise

Students left out of loop

Fees for international students at Victoria University will rise across most programmes in 2011.

An increase of three to seven per cent for most tuition fees was approved by the University Council in a meeting last Monday.

Tuition fees for Humanities and Social Sciences will increase by seven per cent, undergraduate Commerce fees will increase by six per cent, while fees for Architecture, Law, Science, Foundation Studies, undergraduate Engineering, and postgraduate Commerce and Education will rise by five per cent. A three per cent rise will hit Design, undergraduate Education, postgraduate Engineering and Study Abroad courses.

“We carefully assessed factors such as market conditions, student enrolment trends, price sensitivity, fees charges by other universities, and inflationary pressures before making our recommendation to Council that fees be increased for 2011,” says Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Rob Rabel.

“Council members took into account a number of facts and heard from an international student representative before deciding that international fees be increased,” Rabel says.

The comparative analysis of fees charged by other New Zealand universities showed that Vic, in most courses, was not offering the most expensive tuition fees, and was at the cheaper end of the scale for Arts, Science and Commerce undergraduate courses.

There is also scope for fees to rise a further one per cent, if the anticipated GST rise to 15 per cent is confirmed in the Budget to be announced on 20 May.
VUWSA President Max Hardy says the justification for the fee increase is “exceedingly weak”.

“I think most students expect that their fees are based on the cost of providing the courses they are paying for, but instead it looks like they just pick numbers out of a hat. I was quite surprised by the lack of analysis.”

Hardy says that the university should involve students in decisions about fee setting.

“Students want a quality degree and are prepared to pay for it, but most would assume that the amount they pay bears some resemblance to the value of what they receive.”

He adds that VUWSA will be ensuring the university “implements a more robust fee-setting process in the future”.

Rabel says the university “does not consult directly with students on international fees; however, the issue was debated by the Finance Committee, which includes a student representative, before the final paper was prepared for Council.”

Hardy is the sole student representative on the Finance Committee. Hardy was absent from the meeting where international fees were discussed, due to his Uni Games attendance.

“I put in my apologies for the meeting well in advance and asked if another student could attend in my place, but I was told this was not possible.”

A student from the Philippines says she is disappointed by the fee increase.

“Part of the appeal of studying in New Zealand is that it’s so affordable compared to other countries.”

Full details of the 2011 international fees for each programme will be available on the Victoria International website within the next month.

The fee increases summarised:

– Tuition fees for Humanities and Social Science will rise by 7 per cent.

– Tuition fees for undergraduate Commerce will rise by 6 per cent.

– Tuition fees for Architecture, postgrad Commerce, postgrad Education, undergraduate Engineering, Foundation Studies, Law and Science will rise by 5 per cent.

– Tuition fees for Design, undergraduate Education, postgrad Engineering and Study Abroad will rise by 3 per cent.

– A few selected programmes will be exempt from fee rises.

– If GST is increased to 15 per cent in the Budget, there will be an additional increase of 1 per cent.

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