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Massey delays fee setting until after the election

Massey delays fee announcement until December - can WINZ cope?

by Fraser Rolfe

WINZ has two months to prepare for a massive influx of loan and allowance applications from Massey University students. Massey is waiting until after the 27 November election to announce fees for 2000.

Massey - Wellington Student Association president elect Matt Davies said, "it follows that students will delay study announcements so WINZ will be flooded at the last minute. The government must move now to prevent a disaster next year."

Massey usually announces fees between September and October. This year, Massey has more than 13,000 internal and 18,000 extramural students.

Massey assistant vice chancellor (support services) and registrar Murna Thomson said Massey is waiting to build up "as strong a picture as possible about what we are going to face".

This year, a number of changes to government funding regimes means Massey faces "more unknowns". "With extramural students being funded at a different rate, post-graduate students funded at a different rate, we have to work out the internal dynamics of our situation", Ms Thomson said.

Massey will work closely with WINZ to make sure the enrolment process runs smoothly.

WINZ has already begun sending out enrolment packs and is asking students to get in early to avoid a repeat of this year's student allowance delays. With the added burden of student loan administration, Mr Davies believed students will suffer once more.

WINZ national manager of student services Lorraine Williams said WINZ acknowledged they "didn't get things right" as they took on student allowance administration this year. However Mrs Williams was confident that 150 on-call staff would be able to cope with this year's influx of loan and allowance applications.

WINZ now has a database of all students receiving allowances and Mrs Williams believed this would greatly speed up processing.

Students are being advised to "get the ball rolling" by applying early and updating WINZ with more information as it comes to hand.

Fraser Rolfe is a student at Wellington Polytechnic (Massey University) Journalism School.

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