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International students pay for international student shortage

Katrine Kranstad



The University Council raised international student fees last week, with the changes due to come into effect in 2008.

The increase – a maximum of 2% – will most VUW courses and degrees for international students with a few exceptions, including the Foundation and English Language Programmes.
According to Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Roberto Rabel, the fee rise is “necessary” to assist in covering the rising costs of the various services provided to international students, and is based on a comparison with fees at other universities.
The increase is intended to ensure that fees are consistent with Victoria’s positioning as a high-quality university competing in the top tier of Australian and New Zealand universities.
“It should be noted that in certain markets a high tuition fee is often equated with the high quality of the programmes,” says Rabel.
VUWSA Vice-President (Education) Joel Cosgrove rejected this claim, saying that the value of the New Zealand dollar is “just a general justification.”
He predicted that the increase will cause “significant financial consequences” for international students, and urged the University to treat fees as a “student issue rather than a commercial issue.”
Rabel says the increase is also due to the University’s preference for “modest but regular increases” to ensure “reasonably predictable fees” and “to avoid the need for significant increases in some years and no increases in other years”.
VUWSA International Officer Genevieve Fontainier expressed her disappointment over the University’s decision, saying that international students have to suffer the uncertainty of constant fee rises, which also in turn discourage students from heading overseas for tertiary education.