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September 5, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Joyce had a good idea about Student Services Fees

Legislation passed under urgency in Parliament last month means universities will be unable to dramatically increase the amount students pay in compulsory student services fees.
The Education Amendment Bill (No.4) aims to make the process of allocating service fees more transparent and allow student input. It will also give the Tertiary Education Minister power to direct how fees should be spent.

“Compulsory student services fees have increased significantly in the last few years, and I am sceptical that students have seen a corresponding increase in services. These changes will ensure students have a greater say in what these fees are used for,” says Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce.

The law allows the Minister to direct which services fees can be used for; make universities create decision-making processes involving students; and make them provide written statements for students which detail the spending on services.

If the Minister is not satisfied that an individual provider is complying with the directions he will have the power to place a maximum limit on the amount they may charge for student services.

Compulsory student services fees are charged by all universities. These fees are used to pay for services such as health providers, accommodation services and study support. At Victoria University, the Student Services Levy falls into this category.

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the changes.

“It is essential that students have oversight over these levies. This is the best way to ensure that services are responsive to students and that levies are kept under control,” NZUSA co-President Max Hardy says.

The Bill also establishes Education New Zealand as a new crown agency to promote New Zealand as a destination for international students.

“International education is a vital part of our economy and we want to see that grow even further. The new agency is a key part of achieving this,” says Mr Joyce.

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