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As part of last Monday’s fee-setting meeting for 2015, changes were made to the fees paid by international students.
The University is introducing a new $1000 administration charge for international students who enrol and pay their fees but withdraw from their courses. This fee will apply to international students who withdraw before the term starts or during the two-week free withdrawal period at the start of each trimester.
International fees will also increase by four per cent across most undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Undergraduate Architecture, Design and Education course fees will only increase by two per cent. However, international postgrads are less lucky, with Master of Conservation Biology fees going up by five per cent and Masters of Laws fees increasing by ten per cent.
The University has justified the $1000 charge by saying withdrawals incur administrative costs and “pose a risk to the University in meeting new banking regulations.” Salient understands that there is concern that international students pay their fees, gain student visas and enter the country then withdraw, having never actually intended to study at Victoria.
Ramon Quitales, President of the VUWSA International Students’ Representative Group, spoke at the meeting and argued that international students were being treated as cash cows, and referred to both the $1000 fee and the ten per cent increase in international LLM fees as evidence of this.
The University says the ten per cent increase “is proposed to reflect the ranking of the Law School.” Quitales said there was “no clearer evidence” of international students being treated as cash cows – “that’s just saying, let’s milk these people dry.”
Current international postgraduate Law fees are $26,850 a year, second-lowest in the country; this increase will bring the course up to just below $30,000 a year, third behind the University of Canterbury and the University of Auckland.