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Massey’s Unusual Fee-Setting a Premature Mistake

Massey’s Unusual Fee-Setting a Premature Mistake

Massey University management have placed 2006 Domestic Student Tuition Fee-Setting on the agenda for the September meeting of the Massey University Council, ahead of the usual first Friday in October.

But this abandonment of accepted practice merely sets the tone of the whole debate as Massey’s senior management has recommended an unprecedented ten percent across the board increase for undergraduate fees. Under the Government’s Fee Maxima policy, a tertiary institution must apply to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) for an exemption to increase fees by more than five percent. Whilst this has happened for discrete courses such as Medicine at Otago University, no institution has ever applied for an across the board exemption.

Massey University Students’ Association President Iain Galloway says that there seems to be little point in applying for an exemption. “My understanding of TEC policy suggests to me that Massey will struggle to meet the criteria for an exemption,” Mr Galloway said. “The University management have come up with no better reason to increase fees so dramatically than the fact that Massey is cheaper than other universities. There appears to be no genuine analysis of costs in their proposal.”

In a further step away from standard practice, management did not place Fee Setting on the public section of the agenda, leaving the decision up to the Council. Although student representatives on Council today received assurance that fees would be set in public, no documentation regarding Fee-Setting was sent to the media when papers were released on Monday morning. “There is an element on the under-handed about all this,” said Mr Galloway.

Mr Galloway stated his concern that bringing Fee-Setting forward, before September 17th was a massive error of judgement. “In an election year, Massey could be facing policy changes that could have a substantial effect on its income. The Council could make a far more informed decision knowing who will be in government for the next three years”, he said. “The timing really couldn’t be worse. The TEC is in the process of changing its policy regarding exemptions to Fee-Maxima, but nothing has been finalised. Why should the Council be forced to fly blind on such an important issue?”

Massey University Student Tuition Fees will be set at the September meeting of the Massey University Council on Friday, September 2nd, starting at 9 am in the Council chambers at Massey University Turitea Campus, Palmerston North.

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