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September 14, 2014 | by  | in News |
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Students: “More Healthcare, Less Salient”

The results for the Student Services Levy (SSL) budget simulator are in, and it appears students want more doctor’s visits and fewer obnoxious Class Reps.

Students were emailed the simulator in April. Students could increase or decrease budgets for services funded by the SSL by two, four, six, eight, or ten per cent, or leave them as is. Of Victoria’s 18,400 students, 2950 responded.

The budget simulator contained no information as to the current amount of money given to each service. This year, students paid an SSL of $690 each, generating a pool of $11.2 million for all student services.

Students most wanted an increase in health services, with an average increase of 2.11 per cent proposed. This would increase the health budget to $2.28 million per year. Counselling Services attracted a 1.27 per cent increase, pushing the budget past $1.5 million per year. Disability services had an average desired increase of 1.18 per cent, up to $653,000 a year.

327 students commented alongside their budget allocations. Those who did spoke strongly in favour of health services, with one saying they were “crucial to the emotional and psychological wellbeing of students.”

Students also said they wanted more career development, with one saying that as a graduating student, she had “this year been limited by the university and its websites that are focused on finding possible career paths.”

On the flipside, there was an average decrease of 2.95 per cent in desired funding for Class Representatives, which currently cost $120,000 a year.

Student media, which currently gets $160,000 a year in SSL funding, was cut by an average of 1.82 per cent. One student called Salient “120 pages of injokes and VUWSA dedicated advertisement” and said it did nothing to support student wellbeing on campus.

VUWSA President Sonya Clark said VUWSA had already decreased the Levy funding allocated to student media this year as there is “major advertising potential” for Salient, as well as reducing the VBC’s funding by around $30,000.

“We don’t want students paying for Salient when we could have advertisers paying Salient’s way.”

Clark said Class Representatives were important, but VUWSA needed to work on increasing their visibility.

At the 95 per cent confidence level, the margin of error for the results data is +/-1.65 per cent; at the 99 per cent confidence level, the margin of error is +/-2.18 per cent.

BIG NUMBERS

WHAT YOU WANT
Health +2.11%
Counselling +1.27%
Disability services +1.18%

WHAT YOU DON’T
Class Reps –2.95%
Student media –1.82%
Recreation services –1.53%

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