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Victoria University sets fees for three years

Victoria University of Wellington has recommended to Council the setting of student fees for three years, providing greater stability to students planning their tertiary education, Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Irving announced today.

Professor Irving said student fees will be held at the same level for the next three years - beginning in 2000 - to vary only if there were major movements to the rate of inflation or if government further reduced its funding per student.

“It is my hope that this initiative, combined with promised revisions to the student loan scheme will ease the financial burden for our students,” he said.

“In reviewing our operations this year Victoria University faces an operating deficit of approximately $4 million, caused primarily by plateauing student demand.

“Alterations in government funding for taught post-graduate courses will only exacerbate our operating situation next year, with the total level of government funding in 2000 predicted to be $2 million less than in 1998,” he said.

“This, combined with decreasing government funding per student means we are faced with the dilemma of adequately funding quality tertiary education either by improving operating efficiency and or increasing student fees.

“Although major improvements in operating efficiency have been, and continue to be made, it is within this context that a recommendation to increase student fees has been made.”

Professor Irving said while rising student fees are regrettable, every effort has been made to minimise the impact on students and it should be noted that Victoria University fee levels remain amongst the lowest student tuition fees of any New Zealand university.

“In recognition of the rise in student fees I am pleased to announce that students will benefit directly through improved facilities and services at Victoria.

“Approval has been given for expenditure of $600,000 to fund new student computing suites for the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Law.


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“Furthermore, the student computing suite in the library and Faculty of Science will be enhanced.

“An additional $1.5 million has been committed to upgrading the teaching facilities at the Kelburn campus including the laying of fibre optic cable between lecture theatres enabling state-of-the-art video-conferencing and the development of an Intranet.”

Professor Irving said funds are being raised through the University’s Foundation for undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships to provide greater opportunities for students to study at Victoria University.

“There is well-documented evidence that the government loans scheme is providing a major disincentive to students proceeding to postgraduate tertiary study and to people from low socio-economic groups. Many of our scholarships aim to address this.

“However, unless we can contain fees, more and more students will be unable to commence or continue tertiary education because of financial constraints.”

Professor Irving said it was recommended that international student fees at undergraduate and postgraduate level would not be further increased during the 2000 – 2002 triennium.

“The decision to implement this strategy will enable domestic and international students to properly plan their financial commitment to a tertiary education.

“This strategy is based on conservative student enrolments - predicted at a one percent increase, staged expenditure on essential infrastructure and refurbishment and progressive improvement of the student environment.

“Preliminary indications are that Victoria University will move to an operating surplus by 2003 – having frozen student fees for the three preceding years,” said Professor Irving.

Across the University’s four faculties student fees have increased by the following amounts for the 2000 - 2002 academic years (based on 120 points - regarded as a full-time programme):

 Fees for humanities subjects have gone from $2,754 in 1999 to $3,000.
 Fees for commerce subjects have gone from $2,826 in 1999 to $3,500.
 Fees for science subjects have gone from $3,120 in 1999 to $3,750.
 Fees for law subjects have gone from $3,048 in 1999 to 3,500.

Professor Irving said by way of comparison, Victoria University’s 2000 student fees were less than Canterbury and Auckland’s, with Massey and Otago fees still to be released.

VUW Council will meet on Monday, 8 November to consider these recommendations.

Further background information on the VUW tuition fees can be found on www.vuw.ac.nz

ENDS

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