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July 18, 2011 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Gettin’ Heavy With The Levy

Students are being encouraged to share their views on a likely increase to the Student Services Levy in 2012.

The University released a consult-ation document last month that recommends the Levy increase by four per cent in 2012 to cover increased operating costs.
A four per cent increase would see the Levy rise from $522 in 2011 to approximately $542 in 2012. Expenditure on student services (excluding the Levy) are expected to rise to around $9,000,028 in 2012.

The increased cost of running the Student Health and Counselling Services’ new facility, Mauri Ora, has been identified as a key reason for the proposed rise. Salaries for medical staff have been increased to align with the rest of the medical sector, after the 2010 Review of Student Services voiced concern over the number of medical staff finding higher paid work elsewhere.

Some services are likely to see a decrease in their contribution from the Levy. The Accommodation Service will see a reduction of 50 per cent following a review that found the service could run with less funding. Early Childhood Education Services, which runs the creche, will also see less of the Levy due to an increase in fees to parents, a decrease in staff costs, and a reduction in demand.

The proposed changes have taken into account the preliminary results of the Student Health Experience Survey, completed earlier this year. The results suggest the need for improved access to computer services, as well as a growth in demand for Student Health Services leading to longer waiting times.

The report also acknowledges the impact the introduction of Voluntary Student Membership could have on the Levy and services provided by VUWSA.
“VUWSA will continue to manage and fund the services it delivers. If in the future the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill is passed, options will be considered at the time in consultation with students,” says Pam Thorburn, Director Student Academic Services.

The final decision on the 2012 Levy will be made in September by the University Council, based on the advice of the Advisory Committee for the Student Services Levy. Before this decision is made, students are encouraged to read the consultation document and share their views.

“Students have a strong say in how this Levy is set. This consultation is a great opportunity for students to tell the Committee if you think what’s being proposed is the right decision or not,” says VUWSA President Seamus Brady.

“A number of positive changes were enacted following the student consultation and research carried out on the 2011 Levy, so I strongly encourage you to exercise your right to have your say on the 2012 Levy.”

Students can read the consultation document and place feedback on the VUWSA website. Feedback must be given by 24 July.

The Student Services Levy was introduced in 2010 and helps pay for the delivery of student services at Victoria. Amongst others, these services include CareerHub, Financial Services, Disability Services and Student Learning Support. In 2011 the Levy increased from $510 to $522 to compensate for the increase in GST.


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