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Student Health charge to double next year


MEDIA RELEASE
25 September 2000
Attention: Political/Education Reporters

Student Health charge to double next year
Otago students caught out by Govt fee freeze

The University of Otago is set to double the amount students are charged for consultations at its health service due to the Government’s fee freeze preventing it from increasing the health service levy.

The University currently charges students $5 per consultation and is looking to increase this amount in 2001 to $10 to cover a projected shortfall in income of $168,000 due to the freezing of the University’s Welfare and Recreation levy. The levy is charged to all students to cover the costs of student services offered by the University and is subject to the Governments fee freeze deal.

“Though students support the stabilisation of tuition fees, freezing the funding of health services is absurd”, said Andrew Campbell, Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) President.

“An increase in the user charge for Student Health is going to be disastrous for students. With the increase in the charge many students will put of going to see a doctor till they can afford to rather than when they need to”, said Campbell

OUSA notified the Government of the University’s intent to increase the user charge over a week ago. Officials from the Minister of Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey’s office looked at various options to avoid the increase in user charges before ruling all of them out late last week.

“I am incredibly disappointed in the Government’s complete failure to address this problem. Clearly increasing the user cost of health care to the individual is contrary to Government policy, and yet is being condoned in this instance”, said Mr Campbell

“I urge the Government to analyse their policies better in the future so as to avoid problems such as these latter down the line. I also urge the Government to swallow their pride and remove student health levies from the fee freeze for 2001”, said Campbell

ENDS

Contact: Andrew Campbell (OUSA President)
Cell: 021 345 368
Ph: (03) 479 5332

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