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International Students “Cash Cows”

International Students “Cash Cows”

The University of Auckland Council voted this week to increase international student fees for 2007 by 5%, with the exception of international students doing medicine who will have to pay $45,000, up 17% from the 2006 fee level. Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) President Dan Bidois said that “we’re unhappy with the outcome given the current environment where international students are already burdened with huge financial costs as it is.”

International students pay an average of $20,000 in tuition fees to study at The University of Auckland. On top of that international students face living expenses, medical and health insurance costs, a student services levy, building levy, internet charges and additional course related costs such as text books and stationary.

“There’s a common misconception that international students are rich and have money to burn”, said AUSA Education Vice President Xavier Goldie. “It is clear to us that they are not particularly wealthy, with their families either saving for years or taking out loans to pay for their children’s education. Many international students take up extra part-time work just to cover their tuition fees and end up living on 2 minute noodles for dinner”, Mr Goldie added.

Mr Bidois added that he wasn’t surprised with Councils decision to increase fees even more for international students. “There’s a common feeling among international students that they get treated by the university like ‘cash cows’ or ‘revenue generators’ used to fill budget shortfalls in the university’s finances. Given that international enrolments at The University of Auckland were down by almost 18% this year, it seemed almost a given that the university would use this argument to simply raise fees even more”, Mr Bidois Added.

Mr Goldie added that AUSA was concerned that the increased fees would deter more students than it would bring in. “Eventually The University of Auckland may be looking at a situation where the ‘cash cow’ leaves for greener pastures.”

ENDS

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