University of Otago students agreed increasing student fees by 4% was unfair and would put students under more financial pressure. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The University of Otago's decision to raise fees by 4% was
unfair on students and could put some people off studying,
students spoken to by the Otago Daily Times said
The comments come after the university council yesterday
voted to raise domestic fees on all but one course by the
maximum allowable 4%. Vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said
it was a question of either cutting the quality of the
services it provided or raising fees.
Zoology and marine science student Jessica Pullen (21) said
the fee increases would put students in a more stressful
financial situation, especially given the changes made to
student support in this year's Budget.
"I think it's ridiculous. I mean, they have already increased
so much in the last three years. I am third year now and some
of the papers I did in first year have increased by so much,"
Ms Pullen said.
Law and theology student Jordan Grimmer (19) said while he
understood the university was under pressure financially,
"putting the costs on to us is not necessarily the best thing
"People can always put it against their student loans and pay
it off in the future, but I think it will definitely deter
some people, especially people on lower incomes [from going
to the University of Otago]," he said.
Law and psychology student Niha Jalota (19) said she feared
the situation would end up like it was in America, where it
was too expensive for many people to go university.
"It kind of defeats the purpose of getting a degree, because
you are in so much debt ... that you just end up paying it
off for the rest of your life. That's not what you want to do
to the young generation."
Accounting student Letitia London (19) believed it could
result in more graduates going offshore so they could pay off
student loans more quickly.
Otago University Students' Association president Logan Edgar,
who voted against the increase at the council meeting
yesterday, said the increase would make things a "bit
tougher" for students.
"Student loans just keep ballooning ... [and] you have just
got to pay back more," Mr Edgar said.
However, given the university's financial situation, he felt
the increase was inevitable and it was unlikely any kind of
student protest could have stopped it.
"If ever a fee increase of 4% was going to happen it was
going to be this year," he said.
Other students spoken to by the Otago Daily Times
declined to comment on the grounds they did not care about
the fee increases.