20 Sep 2011

Tertiary fee rises set to hit students' pockets

8:30 pm on 20 September 2011

Hundreds of thousands of students face higher costs next year as tertiary institutions begin their annual round of fee-setting.

Students seem resigned to the increases and they will not be alone.

The Union of Students Associations is urging institutions not to raise their fees, but it expects that the call will fall on deaf ears and that instutitions will raise their fees by 4% - the maximum allowed by the Government.

Victoria and Waikato universities have already approved increases of 4% but Bay of Plenty Polytechnic has not gone that far: last week it approved an average fee rise of 1.9%, with no fee rising more than 2.5%. Other universities and polytechnics are yet to debate the issue.

The Union of Students Associations wants tertiary institutions to call for more government funding instead of raising fees next year. Its president, David Do, says they should not raise their fees at all.

"If they still believe they need to increase them," he says, "they need to send a signal to government that they are being forced to do so because of a lack of proper funding from government."

Mr Do says a 4% rise will cost most full-time students several hundred dollars.