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May 31, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

President’s column

Budget 2010

The Government’s latest Budget was not fantastic news for students or the University. Direct funding to the tertiary education sector has been cut by $100 million. Victoria’s grant will be reduced, it seems, by $2.2 million because of the axing of the tripartite funding. This is very bad news for the quality of education and will see your fees increase again.

Changes to the student loan scheme follow the general trend of restricting access to some students, whilst making it more expensive to all of us. The 7 EFTS cap is particularly worrying and marks a significant change in tertiary education policy. Students doing double degrees will in many cases be paying their fees upfront if they slip up only a couple of times during the five or so years it takes to complete such degrees. As we know, that is something that few students can afford. Some students will be forced to leave University unqualified, in massive debt, because they cannot pay their fees upfront and they have, for a variety of reasons, reached the 7 EFTS limit.

Things will also be more expensive for us students. Those who receive living costs will face higher costs due to the increase in GST and more than 6% inflation, without adequate compensation. For students struggling at the moment, that will not be an easy burden to bear.

Overall this Budget treads water by simply shifting money around in the same pot, but with a real decrease in tertiary funding. I was hoping for more, but you can make up your own mind.

VUWSA Alternative Student Guide (VASG)

VUWSA will be publishing the VASG next trimester, which provides information about what students really think about first year courses at Victoria. The aim of the publication is to assist students in choosing their courses by giving them accurate information about the courses they are going to study, and to provide the impetus for improvements in the quality of teaching and learning at Victoria. Thank you to everyone who fills out a survey this week, and contributes to this process.

We will also be extending the VASG online and to 200 and 300 level courses in the near future.

VUWSA Van-Finally putting it behind us

At the end of 2007, two members of the VUWSA Executive made a shameful decision to spend student money to “pimp out” the VUWSA Van. Fortunately, because VUWSA is an accountable organisation, the controversy was comprehensively exposed by Salient and has lingered over the Association since. If the University had made a similarly wasteful decision (as it undoubtedly does, from time to time), then it is unlikely you would have found out about it.

So in many ways the VUWSA van, whilst shameful, has heightened our awareness that our expenditure must be accountable to students. New robust financial policies were put in place to ensure that it could not happen again.

Early this year, the van broke down and this gave us an opportunity to re-assess our needs. We are going to sell the van and the “pimped out” aspects of it and we hope that this will give us the opportunity to put it behind us. We have negotiated with the University, through your representatives on the Joint Student Union Board, to provide the service to students in a cost efficient manner. A new van will be bookable by student groups through VUWSA by trimester 2. The new van will be fit-for-purpose, but will probably not have tinted windows.

We will be seeking to recoup as much as possible from the old van but I am very happy to see VUWSA cutting our losses and putting the controversy behind us.

From the President’s Diary

VUWSA Performance Management Committee
11am, VUWSA

Meeting with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh
3pm, HU

Student Union Building Upgrade Developed Design Meeting
11am, CSB

VUWSA Manager, regular meeting including discussing new finance procedures
2pm, VUWSA

Publications Committee Meeting
12pm, VUWSA Offices, all students welcome

Campus Hub Project Control Group Meeting
2pm, RB

Associate-Director Student Support Services, regular meeting about Student Services
11am, KP

Student Finance Hardship Committee Meeting
8.15am, KP

Assocciate-Director Campus Support Services, regular meeting about Campus Service
9am, WT


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