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September 24, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Vic Fees Soar

STUDENTS TO PAY MORE FOR THE SAME; NOBODY PLEASED

Attending Victoria will cost students more after the University Council voted to increase tuition fees at its last meeting on Monday 17 September.

All council members, with the exception of VUWSA President Bridie Hood and Student Representative Max Hardy, voted for the motion to raise tuition fees across all subject areas by four per cent, the maximum increase allowed by the Minister of Tertiary Education.

The council also resolved to apply for an exemption from this limit, so that it could increase the fees for courses under the Faculties of Humanities and Social Science, and Education, by a total of eight per cent.

Chair of the Finance Committee Roger Taylor said the fee increases were required to offset rising costs and a decrease in government funding.

Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh said it was important Victoria had the funds to maintain the quality of its education.

The document on student fees given to council members noted that an eight per cent increase would bring fees for those courses in line with similar courses at other New Zealand universities.

However, ministry appointee David Chamberlain expressed disappointment at the lack of expense analysis in the document, although he voted in favour of both resolutions.

“How do we know an 8 per cent increase is appropriate for those courses if we can’t see what it costs to produce them?” he said.

Chamberlain was not the only member with reservations.

According to the University’s financial forecast for 2013, the fee increase will see it run a surplus of 3.4 per cent, down from four per cent this year and just above the minimum three per cent surplus the Government expects it to maintain.

Hood was concerned that raising fees would deter students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, after the council listened to two students’ stories of financial struggle.

“I also find it ironic that all New Zealand universities operate at a profit yet use rhetoric of deficits and losses to justify fee increases.”

Although she acknowledged it was “not the fault of the institution; [but] the fault of government policy.”

To secure additional funding, “management, staff, students and communities need to work together,” she said.

Walsh said it was unfortunate that the Government did not recognise the “public good nature” of universities.

But Taylor wished to remind the council and students that “the government gets its money from us, the taxpayers, if the government uses taxpayer money in the greater extent, then the taxpayers will have to pay for it.”

Some Masters programmes will be exempt from the increases.

For further details on the council meeting see ‘Debt Monster’s Ball’ on page 6.

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