Fee rises outpace inflation

Posted By TEU on Oct 18, 2012 |

Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 36

The current round of fee rises that university councils are announcing is another sign the government’s cuts to education are unsustainable says TEU’s University of Auckland branch president Paul Taillon.

The universities of Auckland, Lincoln and Waikato announced this week that it would increase fees by 4 percent next year. Victoria University of Wellington announced that it wants to increase some fees by 8 percent. Last week the University of Otago announced 4 percent fee rises and, the week before, the University of Canterbury announced a 4 percent fee rise. Massey is also considering an 8 percent fee rise.

Paul Taillon says that the government’s cynical under-funding of tertiary education has placed university councils in the untenable position of having to raising student fees to return balanced budgets.

“The University of Auckland council should not simply pass along to students and their families the costs of funding shortfalls. It needs to send a clear signal to government that it must invest in public tertiary education.”

In 2003, the average domestic tuition fee was $2664 per equivalent full time student.  By 2010, the average fee had increased by $1500 or 55 percent.  During the same period, inflation (CPI) was only 20 percent.

While fees are higher on average at universities ($5200 per EFTS in 2010, compared to $3700 at polytechnics) the fees have, over time, been rising by a higher percentage at polytechnics.

Fees have continued to climb since the 2010 data. For instance, the fees for an undergraduate arts course at the University of Auckland rose 6.3 percent from $4501 in 2010 to $4784 last year. Then they went up another 4 percent to $4978 this year.  The fee rise that the vice-chancellor announced this week will drive those fees up to $5177 next year.

graph of rising fees 2003-2012

One of the worrying thing about this chart is that domestic undergraduate arts fees at the University of Auckland are below the average fees for students at university in NZ.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Professional teaching fellows win a new collective agreement
  2. Polytechnics lose in L1-2 funding scramble
  3. REAP members call for alternative education strategy
  4. Minister told democracy crucial to governance
  5. TEU elections for national council begin

Other news

The State Services Commission released details of remuneration for polytechnic chief executives and vice-chancellors last week. Overall, there are a lot who appear to either have taken a cut in pay, no pay rise or a small pay rise that may be in line with what TEU members are receiving. The vice-chancellor at University of Auckland has fallen down one band of $10,000 to earn somewhere between $630,000 and $639,999 but is still the highest paid public servant in the country, ahead of the Prime Minister by quite some margin – State Services Commission

“We have a growing list of job losses, and as the Reserve Bank acknowledged in its last Monetary Policy Statement, many exporters and firms competing with imports are struggling. A drop in interest rates could help stimulate investment and be part of a strategy to bring down the exchange rate. In turn, this could stimulate more job creation – or at least slow the job losses,” – CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg

The president of a Tennessee seminary told a tenured professor that his views were offending prospective students and possible donors and that he should look for work elsewhere. Christopher Rollston, a professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, wrote an opinion article for The Huffington Post’s religion section about the marginal status of women in the Bible. “To embrace the dominant biblical view of women would be to embrace the marginalization of women,” Rollston wrote – Inside Higher Ed

A man caught posing as a medical student for two years despite being rejected from the university programme went to “great lengths” to hide what he was doing from his classmates, staff and his family – New Zealand Herald

University lecturers in Sri Lanka have ended a 3-month long strike after the government agreed to a pay raise and funding boost – Colombo Page

The crisis of education as a public good and the disappearance of public intellectuals – Counterpunch

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