23 Dec 2019

Father unhappy with $500 university hostel instalment fee

5:54 am on 23 December 2019

A Northland father is unhappy that a university is charging students $500 extra if they cannot afford to pay their hostel fees in one go.

AUT Auckland University of Technology

AUT charges an additional $250 per semester if students pay for their hostel accommodation in fortnightly instalments rather than up front. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The man, who has asked not to be named, said AUT's charge was a poor tax.

He said he noticed the $250 per semester fee when he was helping to organise his daughter's hostel booking for 2020.

"It's a poor tax. Anyone who doesn't happen to have a spare $11,000 in the bank to give to the university for advance rent gets hit an extra $500. I think it's inequitable and unfair," he said.

The man said he had not complained to the university directly because he did not want his complaint to have any impact on his daughter's experience at AUT.

He said people from rural areas had little choice about accommodation in university cities and no university should be penalising students for paying their fees in instalments.

The university said the fee covered administration costs.

"An additional fee for those wishing to pay by instalment is standard practise and covers administration costs. We are not aware of any students struggling because of this, but do provide support to assist students who have any type of financial hardship," it said.

RNZ enquiries indicated some other university hostels also charged students more if they paid their fees in instalments, but many did not.

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