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Tertiary Providers Apply for Fee Exemptions

28 October 2005

Tertiary Providers Apply for Fee Exemptions

Three tertiary institutions have applied to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to raise fees above 5 percent next year.

Massey University, Dunedin College of Education and Christchurch College of Education have applied to the TEC for an exemption to raise their fees between 5 and 10 percent.

Applications for an exemption to the Annual Fee Movement Limit (AFML) closed this week. Tertiary institutions may be granted an exemption to the AFML of 5 percent allowing fee increases of up to 10 percent - only if exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated.

Introduced in 2003, the policy restricts fee increases to up to five percent per course, per year or to the appropriate maximum – whichever is lower.

“The intention of the policy is to ensure that fees are affordable for students, while allowing tertiary education providers sufficient flexibility to meet their financial circumstances,” Janice Shiner, TEC chief executive says.

The TEC will consider three principles, outlined below, when assessing an application for an exemption and will determine whether a special case for an exemption has been demonstrated.

“Each application will be looked at on an ‘on-balance’ basis. This means that an institution will not necessarily have to meet all three principles but will have to demonstrate exceptional circumstances,” Janice Shiner says.

The principles that exemption applications need to address are reviewed annually. Following feedback from last year, this year institutions are required to provide evidence that consultation with students’ associations has taken place before an application is submitted.

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The TEC will also consider submissions from relevant students’ associations, regarding applications for exemptions in relation to the assessment criteria.

Final decisions on applications are made by the TEC Commissioners when they meet at the end of November. Institutions and relevant student bodies may seek review of a decision, but only on procedural grounds.


Notes to Editor:

This year’s principles are:

- The cost of providing the course(s) is not being met by the income from the course(s); and

- The organisation is unable to cross subsidise the course(s) from its total financial surplus while remaining financially viable; and

- Not increasing fees would compromise progress towards the achievement of the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) and the Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities (STEP), or other critical elements of the tertiary reforms. (In this context, TEC must have particular regard to situations where not increasing the fees would severely restrict access to a particular programme of study or for a segment of the student population e.g. regional access.)

In 2004 (for 2005 fee rises) the universities of Otago and Auckland (both for medical sciences) and Dunedin and Christchurch Colleges of Education successfully applied for exemptions.

In 2003 (for 2004 fee rises), three institutions were successful - Dunedin College of Education, Wellington College of Education, Otago University (Arts, Social Sciences, Law, Medicine and Dentistry).

A substantive review of FCCM and AFML policies will be undertaken next year as promised when they were introduced in 2003.

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