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October 1, 2018 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Your Fees Are Going Up Again, Big Surprise

Last Monday, the University Council voted to increase the fees by 2%, the maximum amount allowed.
The vote was passed 11-1. Student councillor Isabella Lenihan-Ikin voted against.
In an unusual move, student councillor Alexandria Mark voted for the fee increase. The last student councillor who voted for fee increases was in 2015, a move that resulted in “personal attacks” on social media. As she voted, Alexandria said “I look forward to my death threats”.
Alexandria said she voted on the fee increase because she believed in “being consistent”.
She said she doesn’t like the assumption that is “often inherent” in the council chamber that students will vote against fee increases “as a token thing”.
She said she agreed with the fee increase. “2% doesn’t keep match with inflation, it’s necessary to keep the university financially sustainable and viable.”
“We’re not voting on process, we’re voting on outcome,” she said.
Student union president Marlon Drake presented an oral submission, urging the University to consult more with students about fee raises. “Students want to be part of the conversation”, he said. “Students are not dumb. We can do consultation meaningfully and have a bit of fun on the way”.
Grant Guilford, our Vice Chancellor, said that his method of engaging students about fee rises, his “Rant With Grant”, is generally poorly attended. He attributed that to students “having a sense of inevitability” about the process.
Priyanka Roy, of PGSA, said that the rising cost of education leads to “financial stress for postgraduate students with limited resource”. She also pointed out that scholarships do not increase when fees go up and that the consultation could have been opened earlier, in May, when discussions about fees start.
Ravethi Jeyakumar from the International Students Association pointed out that the fee hike for international students was much greater than that for domestic students.
One councillor said the government sets the amount of money the uni gets, and the consequence of not moving the fees is “job cuts and leaky buildings”.

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