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Otago Defers Decision On Some Student Fees

University Of Otago Defers Decision On Some Student Fees

The University of Otago today decided to defer a decision on 2005 student fees for undergraduate programmes in Medicine, Dentistry and Physiotherapy.

The decision to consider these programmes separately from others arose from last minute advice from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) that applications for fee increases to levels above the relevant ‘fees maxima’ would be accepted in exceptional circumstances, said University Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg.

“Medicine, Dentistry and Physiotherapy are high-cost courses, for which the University has been seeking additional government funding. These are very expensive programmes to run as they are intensive, have large clinical components, and require high levels of teaching time and low student-to-staff ratios.”

Commenting on student concerns about the impact of higher fees for these programmes, Professor Skegg said that the University Council “would be failing the University and our students if we didn’t consider the option of making a submission to TEC for more than the 2.5 per cent to reach the maxima for Medicine and Dentistry, and to resist a forced decrease of 5 per cent for Physiotherapy.”

“The University does not have the resources in its other academic faculties - nor would it be fair to other students - to cross-subsidise these high-cost programmes from other parts of the University.

“However, we are very much aware of the potential impact of fee increases on the students in these programmes, and that’s why we are not rushing into any decision.”

In the interests of giving students certainty for 2005, the University Council will further consider fees for Medicine, Dentistry and Physiotherapy at a special meeting to be held as soon as possible once the TEC advice has been studied.

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