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Trusts warned of compulsory student associations

Charitable trusts warned off compulsory student associations

Charitable trusts are being advised against giving grants to compulsory tertiary student associations which already forcibly take millions of dollars each year from New Zealand tertiary students.

Student Choice spokesman Glenn Peoples said it was disappointing some charitable trusts had made grants to compulsory student associations as these organisations already have unearned income derived from compulsory membership.

Charitable trusts may not be aware most tertiary students have to join student associations and pay compulsory levies before they can study. This gives associations guaranteed income, with the largest associations having unearned annual income of almost $2 million.

For example, this year the Massey University Students Association (MUSA) was given $27,452.89 by the New Zealand Community Trust. Yet MUSA is a wealthy organisation; in 2003 MUSA had total income of $2.8 million and a net surplus of $545,000.

The New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) also gave $1481 to the Victoria University Students Association which in 2003 had compulsory income of $1.3 million and is also investigating the possible fraudulent loss of $130,000.

NZCT also gave $412.50 to the Massey at Wellington Students Association which in 2003 had total income of $487,000 and also lost $203,000 to a fraudster.

Surely community trusts can find organisations more deserving than already-wealthy compulsory student associations which take millions from students, run substantial surpluses and lose money to fraudsters.

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