Maximum student fee rises adopted

The University of Otago went through a "familiar dance" yesterday, adopting the maximum allowable tuition-fee increases for next year despite protests from student representatives.

University Council members voted to raise fees for all but one undergraduate course by between 2.6% and 5%.

Fees for more than 1000 postgraduate students were increased by $500 per course, a jump of 13.3% for some.

The increases only affect students who are New Zealand citizens.

Fees for international students, set earlier, are rising by an average of 4.3%.

Otago University Students Association president Simon Wilson said he expected the council would "follow the steps of a familiar dance".

"Staff recommend the maximum increases allowed by the Government, students recommend a zero increase, and the council agrees with the staff recommendation."

His prediction proved correct as only he and fellow student representative Matt Tucker voted against the fee-increase schedule.

The men were also unsuccessful in gaining support for an amendment restricting the postgraduate rises.

Mr Wilson tabled a fee-freeze petition signed by 1162 people.

University chief operating officer John Patrick said Tertiary Education Commission funding next year was increasing by 2.6% despite inflation running at 5%.

Increased fees were budgeted to bring in an extra $4.2 million.

Overall, an income increase of $12 million was expected while salaries, consumables and other costs were expected to rise by almost $18 million.

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