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Reconsider Fees Freeze Position - Students Urge

Students Urge Vice-Chancellors To Reconsider Fees Freeze Position

The New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) is today calling upon the Vice-Chancellors of New Zealand's universities to reconsider their decision to reject the government fees stabilisation offer for 2002. If followed through with, this decision will result in large fee increases for tertiary students next year.

This call comes in response to statements made by Vice-Chancellors that talks with government have failed to deliver desired results.

"The situation is looking very grim for students," said Sam Huggard, NZUSA Co President. "Now that it is clear that the government is not going to offer any further funding, institutions should be looking at how they can accommodate the government's small funding increase, rather than resorting to increasing students' fees."

"It is too simplistic for the Vice-Chancellors to say that the funding offer isn't enough, while failing to acknowledge their own mismanagement of spending priorities. Rather than threatening to cut research and academic staff, the VCs should cut their advertising and capital expenditure budgets that have universally grown at the expense of teaching and research in recent years," said Sam Huggard. "Figures this year have shown that the universities are still wasting large amounts of public money on 'branding' exercises."

"The competitive model has lead to the situation where the needs of learners is second to the needs of institutions and politicians," said Sam Huggard.

"The bottom line for students is that fees cannot go up. We've already carried the costs of government funding cuts over the last ten years. Further fee increases will exacerbate student debt, and will also see a further erosion in the ability for all New Zealanders to access tertiary education," concluded Huggard.


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