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No Bright Future With More Fee Increases

Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA)

Student leaders at the Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) are disgusted at a proposed average fee increase of 10.9% for 2000.
The University yesterday briefed student representatives and academic staff on the proposed budget for 2000. Medical school students will be hardest hit with fees increasing a staggering 17% to $9600.

“Many students are suffering severe hardship with current fee levels. This increase will only seek to increase that hardship and $3.44 billion loan burden or even drive them away from tertiary education altogether. 6,337 students signed a petition calling for no fee increase for 2000, thereby showing the widespread concern among students at the prospect of further fee increases, “ said Eva Neitzert, Co-Education Vice President.

“It is clear, that this move will only further entrench the trend of declining enrolments from lower socioeconomic groups and Maori particularly in high cost courses such as Medicine,” commented Ms Neitzert.

“The fee increases highlight the disastrous effects of continual cuts to government funding of the tertiary sector. The changes to the funding of Research based programmes alone will cost the University of Auckland an estimated $3 million,” continued Ms Neitzert.

Student representatives were also frustrated at the lack of consultation during the fees setting process. Yesterday’s briefing was the only information student representatives have received from the Vice Chancellor with regards to fees for 2000 despite multiple attempts by the representatives to be involved in the fees setting process. “With Council being required to vote on the proposed budget next Monday, this is a farce. It is quite clear that there is no intention to take into consideration views expressed by students and academic staff at yesterday’s briefings,” said Sam Huggard, Administration Vice President.

Until 1997 University management presented several fee options to Council to allow Council to consider the ramifications of each proposal. Both in 1998 and 1999 only one option has been presented. “This is completely undemocratic. It leaves the Council with the choice of either setting the fee proposed by the University management or not to set fees altogether. This is no choice at all,” concluded Mr Huggard.

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