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International Students Not Be Seen As Cash Cows

Thursday, 9 August 2001

International Students Must Not Be Seen As Cash Cows

The students' association at Victoria University is pleased to hear that the University's financial position has improved over the last six months, however student representatives are concerned that an increased emphasis on recruiting international students is placing considerable pressure on some student support services without a corresponding increase in resources.

"International students have different needs to domestic students, and make much greater use of many of the support services available. However, a dramatic increase in the number of international students has not been followed by increased resourcing for those areas, and that is putting a lot of support services under immense strain," Chris Hipkins, President of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association said today.

"We welcome the different views and perspectives that international students provide, and believe that international exchange is an important part of scholarship. However, we also want to ensure that international students needs are met by the University and they are not simply seen as cash cows to compensate for declining government funding," Mr. Hipkins said.

Mr Hipkins said it was good to see that the University books are back in the black, but it's what the University intended to do with the extra revenue that is of interest to student representatives now. "There are a number of areas within the University that are woefully under-resourced such as the Library, student learning support, and of course we are always aware that our academic staff salaries do not compare well internationally," Mr. Hipkins said.

"We would be very concerned if the University management decided to channel extra resourcing into things like marketing campaigns or capital development when many of our core areas are struggling due to under-resourcing," Mr. Hipkins said.

"It is interesting to note that despite spending less on marketing than other universities, Victoria has experienced possibly the largest growth in enrolments. This goes to show that students are more interested in which university offers them the highest quality education, rather than which university has the slickest marketing campaign," Mr. Hipkins said.

"The competitive era is over, and Victoria should lead the way by re-investing in its core academic and student support areas, and concentrate on giving students the quality education they deserve rather than trying to outdo their imaginary competitors," Mr. Hipkins concluded.

ENDS

Chris Hipkins President Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (Inc.) Te Ropu Tauira o te Kura Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui

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