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September 25, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Fees Rise

Students can look forward to another burden on their back pocket next year following the fees raise voted for at University Council last Monday.

The council passed recommendations to increase fees for domestic students by four per cent for 2012, which is the maximum fee increase allowed by the government.

The only opposition to the recommendations was from the two student representatives on the council—VUWSA President Seamus Brady and University Council Representative Conrad Reyners. Both spoke at length of the burden that the continual increases in student fees place on students, in that they create a disincentive to study and a future burden of debt.

“I feel it is imperative when we set fees that we are reminded of the impact that our decision will have on the lives of both students now and on our society in the future,” Reyners said.

Since 1997, gradual fee increases approved by the university each year have led to an overall increase of 100 per cent.

Reyners and Brady both expressed concern that these ongoing increases would soon prove detrimental to students’ access to study, especially equity groups such as women, Maori and Pacific Island students, who would be disproportionately affected.

“The question is: Does Get Amongst the Best equate to get amongst the richest?” Brady quipped.

In giving its reasons for recommending an increase, the University cited the financial constraints that reduced government tertiary funding for 2012 has created.
“We make this recommendation with reluctance, but within the context of government funding we have no other choice,” Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh said.

Although recognising the problem these cuts pose to the University, Reyners and Brady both said that it was the role of the University to speak out against government cuts to tertiary education.

“The current funding situation is unsustainable and any solution must come from Government. It’s about time this University and others around the country took a firmer line and vocally reminded the Government about the importance of funding students and the sector appropriately.”

Despite approving the fee increase, most council members agreed that the current funding model was unsustainable, and radical changes inevitably need to be made.

Due to proposed government restrictions as to what may be classified as a student service by universities, the Student Services Levy was not able to be passed at this meeting.

Following the recent We Are the University protest, during which a large group of students protested in the Hunter Building, the fee-setting meeting featured a strong presence of campus security outside the building. Despite this increased security however, only a couple of students were present, and Chancellor Ian McKinnon said that it was the smallest public gallery he had seen.

Full copies of Brady and Reyners’ speeches can be accessed at vuwsa.org.nz.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Michael says:

    So Mr V-C… You drive a nice new Lexus GS some $160,000 and still you have the audacity say the govt. cuts leave you no choice… How about a cut in your salary, Im sure that you are ‘passionate about teaching’ and not the salary?

  2. Your Name says:

    sack pat walsh

  3. Michi says:

    I like Pat Walsh, he’s a nice man.

  4. Denim says:

    We need a lot more inisgths like this!

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