Studylink won’t be receiving the A-Team’s promised $25 refund to students, according to the election candidates and the Ministry of Social Development.
As part of their election manifesto, the A-Team is promising full-time students a $25 refund of their annual $120 VUWSA levy.
The levy was raised late last year from $99. The levy will be adjusted by the Weekly Wage Index for next year to around $125.
The A-Team says students at Vic are being over-charged for their membership of VUWSA, and that a better service can be provided to students at the lower price.
The group will refund every student through a cheque or a voucher of some description, according to Council Rep candidate Jordan Williams.
However, lawyer and former VUWSA Treasurer Graeme Edgeler last week told Salient the refund is possible, but VUWSA “won’t be able to write every student a cheque – this would breach the Incorporated Societies Act (societies have to be non-profit, and can’t just divide their funds up between members like a company can).
“It will likely have to be an actual refund; that is, if the student paid their VUWSA levy through a student loan, the money will go back to the government (of course, the student’s student loan will be lower).”
Williams said it may be necessary to change the word ‘refund’ to something else to be able to give each student $25.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Social Development said in a statement: “If a student association chooses to refund part of their association levy it would be up to them to determine how that is done. StudyLink would not be entering into any arrangement to have the refund paid to StudyLink. If students choose to use the refund towards paying their student loan that is their choice. Because loan money has to be repaid at some stage, it is up to students whether they use the refund for this purpose now or later.”
The A-Team intend to cut funding to clubs, rep groups and some executive portfolios, amongst other areas, to pay for the refund – over $400,000 according to the A-Team’s budget.