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Changes to fees and course costs maxima announced today by the Government have drawn a mixed reaction from the Association of University Staff [AUS].

The changes, which limit the extent to which tuition fees can be raised to 5%, have been described by AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, as a major, but inadequate, change in the Government policy.

While welcoming any move to restrain increasing students’ costs, Dr Rosenberg pointed out that this, once again, reinforced the need for the Government to address the long-standing funding problems that universities face.

‘Now that the Government has decided to limit the ability of universities to set fees, it will need to significantly increase its investment in the sector. The funding increase for 2004 does not address the significant losses in funding suffered by universities during the 1990s and is insufficient to meet their operational needs. This will be underlined when salary bargaining gets underway in the next few weeks,’ said Dr Rosenberg.

‘This is a major issue and will have a pronounced impact on the ability of universities to ensure their degree programmes meet international standards.’

Dr Rosenberg also expressed disappointment at the exclusion of postgraduate student fees from the fee maxima policy, despite strong representations from sector groups.

Bill Rosenberg , National President, 021 680 475
Helen Kelly, General Secretary 027 436 6308, 04 915 6691

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