University fee rises approved

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Fees will rise for University of Otago students next year.

At its meeting in Wellington, the university council yesterday approved an 8% hike in the compulsory service fee, and a 2% hike in course fees.

The university cited measures in sexual health and mental health to justify a $59 increase in the service fee in Dunedin, to $798 in 2018.

Students at the Wellington and Christchurch campuses paid lower service fees.

From next year, the charge would apply per semester, meaning students who studied only one semester would pay half the total.

The 2% course fees hike is the maximum that can be applied under the fees cap.

Chief financial officer Sharon van Turnhout said in her report low student number growth and increased costs exerted pressure on finances.

''The building programme will provide significant benefits to the university and its students, but also applies pressure to the operating result as the draw-down of cash to complete it reduces investment income.

''It is therefore necessary to increase student tuition fees by the fully permitted 2%.''

Delays to the building project had helped the current financial position.

''Capital expenditure is lower than budget due to delays in some projects entering the construction phase, as they have encountered adverse ground conditions.''

In 2018, fees for arts, languages and mathematics undergraduate degrees would increase by $114 to $5793.

An undergraduate law student would pay $6462, a $127 increase.

Postgraduate fees would increase by more; a master's student in dentistry would pay $35,985 in 2018.

Otago University Students' Association president Hugh Baird said he supported the service fee rise.

''Obviously, 8% is quite a lot, and it's something that we don't take lightly, but ... two of the biggest issues are mental health services and sexual violence prevention.

''This increase in the compulsory services fee is going to go to try to work on [those issues].''

Mr Baird said he did not support the course fee rise as it provided nothing additional for students, but he understood why the university approved it.

''It's no great surprise ... but there is no additional services there.''



Just make fees fair. and study that is not dreamy .and leads to work ... as this can be lacking at times....advice see what the shortage of skills are. teach them.

The school is great at making money.