Declining university student services to be addressed
From 1 July 2009, universities will have the option of charging domestic students a fee for the provision of much needed services including child care, counselling and sporting activities.
"Today's announcement by Minister Ellis means that the Government is meetings its election promise to restore university student services and representation which have been devastated since the introduction of VSU", Dr Carolyn Allport, National President NTEU, said today."The introduction of VSU made it illegal for universities to levy a compulsory services fee on students and resulted in the loss of $170m per year in university revenue.""Since the introduction of VSU there has been in excess of 1000 jobs lost in the provision of student services at our universities which has resulted in the loss of or severe cut backs in many basic student services such as counselling and independent advocacy.""Given that attending university is a financial struggle for many students, we also strongly support the decisions to cap the fee at $250, and to allow students to repay the fee through an income contingent HECS style loan.""From July next year all universities will be required to meet a new set of national benchmarks and protocols for the provision of student services and representation, a situation which is similar to current provisions for international students covered by the ESOS (Education Services for Overseas Students) Act.""Of critical importance is that the new protocols and standards will cover not only basic services but also require student representation and advocacy.""It needs to be kept in mind that any additional revenue raised by the introduction of a student services fee belongs to the students and that they have a right in determining how these funds are to be used.""We are confident that all universities understand the only way to guarantee genuine student representation is through the establishment of democratically elected and independently resourced representative bodies", Dr Allport concluded.
Paul Kniest, Policy and Research Coordinator:
0418 170 622,